Healthy eating habits begin early on in the life of a child. I have found this to be very true with my own children. Once they are older, it’s hard to move children to a healthier lifestyle when it comes to food.
Here are a few tips to help start your child off on the right path that will continue throughout their life.
Eliminate Junk Food From The Household
When my older children were younger, we always had junk food of some kind in the house. They learned to eat it and had access to it all the time.
They still love junk food and do not eat many fruits or veggies.
My two year old has not been exposed to the easy access to junk food. We don’t keep it in the house anymore. She is the biggest lover of greens and fruits out of all the children because she was exposed to them from the beginning.
Indulge In Occasional Treats
Even after you have eliminated all junk food from the house, it is a good idea to occasionally indulge in a special treat with your child. Do not ban your child from eating anything that might be considered junk food. They need to learn that a little treat is okay every once in a while.
Stop Emotional Eating Before It Starts
In order to have a healthy relationship with food, they need to learn to not associate food with emotions. I know that I sometimes eat when I’m bored, sad, angry, and this is not healthy. If a child picks up these emotional eating habits, they can cause obesity and general bad health in the future. And emotional eating is hard to break.
Show your child other ways to deal with negative emotions that don’t include eating junk. And don’t let them see you doing it.
Make Their Favorite Foods Healthier
Dinner time doesn’t have to be a battle. If your child has a favorite food, try making a healthier version of it for them. If they love spaghetti, use whole grain noodles instead of white. If they love mashed potatoes, try serving them mashed cauliflower instead. It might just become a new favorite for them.
Make Healthy Foods Fun
We’ve all seen the Bento box creations, and kids love them. If you can make healthy food look like your child’s favorite character or a rainbow, it makes it fun for the child. They may be more likely to try foods they wouldn’t try before.
Or try blending fruits and vegetables and freezing them into popsicles. A fun and healthy treat that your child can help create is sure to get more cooperation from your child.
Be An Example
You can’t expect your kids to willingly eat healthy foods if you, yourself are not doing the same. Kids learn by example and the earlier you can change your eating habits, the less resistance you will see from your children.
It is so much easier to start kids on a healthy path in life, with the proper diet and nutrition if you do it from the beginning. Make their first foods be fruits and vegetables and limit the junk food they have access to early on.
And change your habits as well! Just as you want your child to grow up and live a long, healthy life, your kids will want you around for a long time, so make that change now.