Healthy eating means eating a wide variety of nutritious foods from all groups to help the child grow.
By encouraging and developing healthy eating habits early, you can make a huge impact on your child’s lifelong relationship with food and give them the best opportunity to grow into healthy and confident adult.
Healthy eating can stabilize a child’s energy, sharpen their mind and even out their moods.
Here are 6 tips to develop healthy eating habits in children:
1) Have healthy snacks and snacking plan
Keep plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain snacks and healthy beverages easily accessible. Have a box of ready cut fruits and vegetables such as carrot and celery cubes ready in the fridge. You can add some olive oil and lemon juice and herbs to enhance the flavour and taste.
Continuous snacking can lead to overeating and obesity. Plan snacking at specific part of the day to be part of the nutritious diet. This can help to develop a routine of healthy eating.
2) Limit portion size
Don’t insist your child clean out his plate. A child will stop when he has had enough. Never use food as bribe or reward as children will learn that this is higher value than normal meals. Serve age appropriate portion size to help manage the expectation of how much the child should and can eat.
3) Discourage eating meals or snacks while watching TV
Develop the habit of eating only at designated areas of your home such in the dinning or kitchen areas. Eating in front of the TV makes it difficult to pay attention to fullness and may lead to overeating.
4) Have regular family meals
Serve approximately the same time every day and ensure that the whole family eats together. This can help with family bonding and allows children to imitate what adults eat. Breakfast is a great time for family meals and kids who eat breakfast tend to do better in school.
5) Eat home cook meals more often
Home cook meals are healthier than restaurant meals. Restaurant meals tend to have too much sugar, fat and salt, but you can control that with home cook meals. Save the dinning out for special occasions.
6) Get kids involved
Involve your children in your groceries shopping. Let them pick out the food in the shopping list. This is a great opportunity to teach them how to read food labels and nutritional values of different foods. Give them a chance to select what goes into their lunch box.
Get your children involve in the preparation of the meals. Have age appropriate activities such as peeling potatoes, washing and cutting fruits and vegetables, frying eggs during the meal preparation can be a fun family bonding time.
By teaching children healthy eating habits and modeling these behaviours in yourself, you can help your children maintain a healthy weight and normal growth as well as developing a healthy lifestyle when they are adults.
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