One of the most ideal traits of being a responsible parent is the ability to establish healthy eating habits in their children. With these habits, you allow your children to maintain a healthy weight and optimal growth. When you display healthy eating habits yourself, it is easier for your kids to pick up these habits and even apply it in their lifestyle as they grow into adulthood.
Healthy eating habits include portion control and cutting down fats and sugar from their snacks and drinks. Though there may be a lot of ways to reduce their fat intake, a few tried and tested tips can get you going. Some of the ways to promote healthy eating habits include:
Make meal choices for the family instead of dictating what to eat
Having a wide selection of healthy foods available in the house makes it easier for kids to choose according to their preference. Using this strategy, you can keep them healthy without forcing them to do so. Stash away the unhealthy choices like sodas, chips and other processed grocery goods that contain a lot of sugar and unnecessary fats.
Let them eat slowly
When children eat at a slower pace, it is easier for them to detect fullness which avoids overeating in some cases. If they ask for a second helping or serving, let them have it in a smaller portion compared to their first and load it up with more veggies. Also let them wait for a few minutes for their brains to register fullness and reconsider eating more.
Always eat meals together as a family
During mealtime, make sure that you are open to pleasant conversation and avoid arguments. When mealtimes are unpleasant, it sends signals to children’s minds and they’ll associate eating with stress. Chances are, they will eat faster in order to leave the table as soon as they can.
Let your children be involved in preparing food
This includes shopping for meals for the family. These simple activities can give you hints about your children’s preferences and you can adjust what to prepare for next time. While you’re at it, insert opportunities to teach them about nutritious foods and its benefits so that they become mindful not just in eating, but also in selecting what to buy for the family. When they think that they are in charge, it makes them feel good for being the ‘good one’ in the family.
Carefully plan for snacks
Stick to your plans when it comes to snacks. Being mindful of snack times will avoid overeating tendencies in children. Most parents ignore this and just go about giving in to their child’s request for yet another snack. Unknowingly, this increases the intake of unnecessary and unhealthy sugars and fats in their system. Help them develop healthy eating habits by planning ahead for nutritious snacks.
Don’t use food to punish or reward your children
The moment you withhold food as punishment for misbehavior, it makes children worry if their portion is sufficient for their consumption. They might mistake the thought that you are giving them very little because they did something wrong. It might give them anxieties thinking they don’t have enough. Depriving them will increase their chances to overeat as well. Similarly, when you use food as rewards, it will make them think that these little treats are more valuable than the healthier fruits and vegetables and they might ignore the latter because they’ll aim for the sweeter “reward”.
Make sure they get plenty of water
Nothing beats the habit of drinking the right amount of water everyday in order to maintain a healthy system. Especially for kids who are heavy on sweetened drinks and snacks, combat the risk of obesity by drinking water throughout the day. This method not only cleanses their system, but also hydrates them.
It is important to keep an eye on your child’s diet but don’t restrict them to the point that you’ll shut down sweet treats forever. Balance is key in maintaining healthy eating habits in your child. Without it, they can either overeat or undereat and lack the nutrition their bodies need to function well.
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