It is never too early to develop a kids healthy eating plan – it can start as soon as a child is old enough for solids and can continue, hopefully, right through life. Getting kids to eat healthy is easier said than done, of course, with the amount of media exposure and seductive advertizing that the average child is subject to.
Sometimes parents may have to be a little bit sneaky in order to get their kids to eat nutritious and healthy food, and some of these tips for kids healthy eating can come in handy –
1. Cook at home. Have a culture of cooking at home – get interested in nutrition, in traditional recipes from other cuisines, read recipe books or watch TV cooking shows and try out different things when preparing meals.
If you are interested in cooking and nutrition, giving the family a taste of variety and range, chances are the kids will be as well.
2. When you do eat out, make sure that it isn’t convenient fast food restaurants rather apply the same principles of a kids healthy eating plan to eating out as well.
Order grilled, not fried, if it says ‘creamy’ nix it, if it says ‘crispy’ don’t order it, and rather than a buffet or all-you-can-eat, opt for al a carte.
3. Discuss food and its nutritional merits; appeal to the child’s self interest. One of the things that can work in favor of kids healthy eating is if they are convinced about the possible advantages of what they eat.
If a kid who is keen on sport is told that he will have better muscles by eating his chicken grilled rather than deep fried or that he will be able to jump higher and longer if he finishes the veggies on the side rather; if he is convinced that its better for him to have a milk and fruit smoothie rather than an ice-cream instead; then that is more than half the battle.
4. Don’t bring unhealthy things into the house. Try and shop while the kids are at school if you find that they pressure you to buy unhealthy things when they come out shopping with you. The salty, fried items, the ones loaded with preservatives and additives; don’t buy them so that when a child wants a snack there are no unhealthy options in the pantry.
5. Kids eating healthy doesn’t only mean that they eat less amounts of fat, sugar and salt in their diet, it also means, higher amounts of fresh produce, ideally that which is seasonal and grown locally. It can be fun to go grocery shopping with a child to the local markets, letting them help pick out the freshest apples and teaching them to look for the greenest lettuce.
Eat organic whenever possible to make sure that the least amount of pesticides, growth hormones and other chemicals are eaten by the kids.
6. Don’t be rigid about your kids healthy eating. This can make it seem like an imposition, and something that is to be tolerated and escaped rather than welcomed and adopted for life. Have guidelines, but don’t be fanatical about implementing them.