Maintaining a healthy diet for your kid and not giving in to the lures of fast food and sugary treats can be quite the uphill task for parents today. It can be very challenging trying to convince your little one to stay away from junk food that is bad for him or her. Parents often feel guilty about not being able to feed their kids healthy foods as they are not sure how to do this.
7 Must Know Ways to Manage a Healthy Diet for your kids
Start Strong: Most families don’t eat enough fibre on a daily basis. Breakfast is the best place to sneak fibre into your kids’ diet. Serving high-fibre cereals can be used as a quick fix. Alternately make and store whole-grain batter for the entire week and serve your children pancakes or waffles as breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and teaching the same to your kids will help them understand the value of eating a healthy breakfast. This way they will be less likely to be cranky later during the day and can have sustained energy till lunch is served.
Eat Healthy Yourself: Children learn by mimicking their parents. So sit down with them and eat healthy foods yourself also. Eat the same food as you serve to your children and eat with them. This way your kids will also feel more comfortable eating healthy foods by seeing you enjoy it. By offering bites from your own plate you can encourage him or her to be excited about trying new, healthy food.
Let them Help you Cook: Engaging your child in the process of food preparation can make them excited about eating it. Obviously you need to be careful not to hand over knives to your baby and leave him or her unsupervised! Let your child help you out in the kitchen with the meal preparations by maybe tearing up greens for a smoothie or helping with sorting out the vegetables to be used. This can lead your child to feel more excited to try out the healthy meals and smoothies since he has had a part in preparing it.
Give them Options: Kids feel happier when they feel they are in control. As a parent let your kids feel this sense of control by giving them have a say over their food choices for the day. But the trick is to give them the choice between two healthy options! Ask them if they’d prefer a stir fried vegetable or roasted vegetable instead of asking them what they would like to eat blankly. So ultimately you are able to make them eat healthy and they can’t complain because they chose it!
Don’t Force or bribe: Never shout at or force your kids to eat healthy. This will only be counterprroductive with your kids becoming increasingly surly and refusing to eat. Scolding and forcing can even encourage your child to throw tantrums to try and get his or her own way. The other side of the story is bribing them to eat healthy by promising some treat when they finish – such as “Finish your vegetables then you will get a lolly”. This defeats the purpose of healthy eating and your child does not benefit from this at all.
Restrict Junk Food: Don’t outright ban junk food for your child as this will only serve to make it more attractive to him or her and they will use every opportunity they get to binge on it. As a parent you can limit the amount of junk your kid consumes. This way they won’t be so tempted to gorge on the oily and sugary treats at every given opportunity. Banning any specific food item altogether from your home could also be a bad idea, especially if the same is available easily outside. This may lead to the habit of overeating in your child as they might eat it inspite of being full. Parents should also try to avoid restrictions on desserts and other treats as punishment as this might lead to neagative relationship with food.
Introduce New Food Slowly: Children by nature do not gel well with new foods. It is important to introduce any new food, especially if it has a strong taste, slowly to avoid outright refusal. Use small portions and plates in the beginning and explain to your kids that sometimes some foods need some getting used to before they can like the taste. Allow your kid to serve himself or herself in small bowls and plates makes them feel grown up and will also help them get an understanding of portion size. Also serving themselves will also give them a sense of control over what they are eating so they are likely to resist less to eating healthy.
When all else fails sneak it into his or her food. When your child gets super picky and being contrary for the sake of it, sneak in the veggies. Puree vegetables into pasta sauces, mash them into potatoes or you can try making food art. Collect innovative recipes for days when your toddler is being picky. Make meal times enjoyable for your kid as well as yourself so that you can both relax and eat without any stress. Scheduling meal and snack times initially will also help your child develop a healthy eating pattern and he or she will be less likely to fill up on junk. You need to remember that you cannot stop your child from having junk now and then, just make sure that you balance it out later with healthier options and proper exercise.