What Is The Best Way To Teach Your Children About Healthy Eating?
Teaching children to eat well can be challenging. You don’t really want to give them more facts than they are able to grasp or turn every meal into a lecture. However wait too long and they may pick up unhealthy eating habits in the meantime. Children need to know that every food they put into their bodies affects them.
Parents will be able to get that message across by talking with their children about the food that they put in their bodies, why it matters as well as how they can learn to make the choices which are the healthiest for them.
Not just a rule, but rather a routine. Make sure that healthy foods are the default setting for your family’s meals. Get everyone involved in selecting some nutritious and tasty options. Bring along your kids with you to the grocery shop or farmers market. Younger children could pick out fresh fruits and vegetables. Older kids can take on larger roles such as choosing recipes and making a shopping list.
Here is how to teach your kids about healthy eating.
Schedule Meals And Snacks
Children have to eat every three to four hours: three meals, two snacks and then lots of fluids. If you plan for these, your kid’s diet will be much more balanced and they’ll be less cranky.
Invite Your Family To Sit Together At The Table During Mealtimes
Eating together as a family is how children learn to make healthy food choices and to master table manners. If you insist that young children sit with you — even if they aren’t quite ready for solids or are saying no to eating — they’ll begin to learn the rules of dining.
Make the most of these opportunities by:
- Setting an example. Model good eating habits and let your children see you trying out different foods. For instance, eat your vegetables if you would like your child to try them. Also, model good social behaviour by allowing your kids to see how you answer questions and don’t interrupt — and certainly avoid screen time at meals.
- Restrict meals to a reasonable length of time. A meal really shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. If needed, you can set up a timer to reinforce the time expectation. This will help children remain focused during meals.
- Eat at regularly planned meal and snack times. This will assist your child with eating balanced meals instead of grazing on snack foods during the day.
Don’t Call Foods “Good” Or “Bad”
Children should learn that all foods have their place in their diet. Rather label foods as “go,” “slow,” or “whoa.” Kids can “green light” foods such as whole grains and skim milk they should have every single day and “slow down” with less healthy foods such as waffles. Foods with the least nutritional value, such as French fries, don’t have to be off limits, however children should stop and think twice before they eat them frequently.