Getting your children to eat healthy is hard, so how do we teach them to eat healthy for the rest of their lives?
As a mother, I know that we are always faced with the decision of cooking something healthy for our kids, or taking the easy way out and getting takeout. Even the strongest of supermoms needs a break once in a while, and it isn’t a bad thing to treat your kids to some junk food once in a while. We want our kids to want to eat healthy, but that is probably not really realistic. So how do we go about instilling the desire to eat healthy in our children, while still letting them let loose with their diets once in a while? These three tips should help you teach your kids the importance of eating healthy, not just today, but for the rest of their lives.
Limit snacking. If you fill your kids up with nutrient-rich food, they are much less likely to go reaching for unhealthy snacks. We don’t want to torture our kids though, so if you limit their snacking to once between meals it will set up a healthy habit that they can follow even after they have left the nest. Try to include fiber-rich foods in their meals, as these will help them feel full longer, and give them energy.
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Don’t be afraid of variety. Teach your kids to expand their palates by trying a variety of different (healthy) foods. Give your kids their first taste of ethnic food early on, so they gain an understanding and appreciation for different cuisines. Knowing there are many different options of healthy food out there will keep them in line when it comes to choosing their own food.
Eat fruits and vegetables at every meal. Obviously we know that our kids typically hate vegetables, but including them in every meal from the beginning will build familiarity for your kids. You can try and make it fun by introducing them to new vegetables based on color (like beets, cherries, and cranberries all in one meal), or let them choose their own new vegetables from the supermarket. I know this sounds silly, but fostering a relationship between your children and vegetables from an early age is the easiest way to ensure they make healthy choices into adulthood.