Many families lead a very busy life these days. Besides busy work schedule, parents have to deal with their kids’ school routine, after-school activities, weekends with family and friends and so on. So it is hard to prepare healthy meals for kids every day.
Developing healthy eating habits in kids from the very early age is vital, as these habits will stay with them for lifetime. In this article we wanted to share easy tips on developing healthy eating habits in kids.
It may sound old, but there are huge benefits in healthy eating: energy levels boost, help with brain development and learning, mood stabilising, healthy weight maintenance and mental health support. Healthy diet is basically the easiest way to support the chances of great health in the future.
Be the role model
Children copy their parents and if you choose healthy foods for your meals and enjoy them in front of them, kids will be more susceptible to liking them. Choose vegetables, fruit, whole grains and healthy snacks and let your kids see how much you enjoy them.
Eat the same food sitting down together
Cook the same meal for everyone and sit down to enjoy it together. Establish meal rules of no phones or distractions. Talk about everyone’s day and what they’ve accomplished today. Sitting down for meals together is a great way to stay connected.
Make breakfasts important
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. Show your kids how important it is to have a healthy nutritious breakfast to start the day right. It is understandable that mornings can be hectic, but with a little bit of planning (like setting up the breakfast table the night before), you can ensure you can have a good breakfast before leaving the house for the day.
Involve them in food shopping
Taking kids to do grocery shopping will not just teach them responsibility, but also educate them on choosing healthy products for their meals. Choose the items together and talk about which ones provide protein, which ones provide certain vitamins and so on.
Involve them in cooking
This is similar to shopping together - kids will learn responsibility of making some of their food and learn how to do it in the process. Name meals for fun like “Sarah’s favourite” or “Sunday funday meal”. Encourage kids to invent new meals and think of more ways of making healthy food.
Replace processed sugar with natural one
If your kids love something sweet after their meal or for a snack, offer something like fruit salad or fruit slices cut in fun shapes instead of a cookie or something with processed sugar.
Praise them with attention, not food
Reward kids with kisses, hugs and attention, not sweet food. Rewarding them with sweet food will develop the opposite eating habit.
Start using healthier versions of similar products
If you think you need to start eating healthier than you are, then making small changes with what products you’re using can be the right step. For example, start using coconut oil instead of butter, wholemeal bread instead of white, smoothies instead of ice-cream.
Have fun with food
Create fun shapes and designs with veggies and fruit to make them more exciting. Kids love games and eating healthy can be a fun game to play!
Include healthy fats
Brain development hugely benefits from unsaturated fats, so understand which fats can help and which can harm. Good fats are foods like olive oil, avocados, some nuts and seeds.