The healthy eating habits we form as children follow us throughout our lives. A lot of them depend on what our parents taught us, and the effectiveness of those lessons can have a pretty significant impact on our overall nutrition and health. Because of this, it’s crucial that you properly pass down your knowledge to your kids, to make sure that they prosper on their own when they grow up. Helping your child develop healthy eating habits is easier than you think though!
Helping Your Child Develop Healthy Eating Habits
Eliminating processed foods is a big part of the lesson that is proper nutrition, but there’s so much more to it than that. The way you eat can be just as impactful on your nutrition, if not more so in some cases. To help your kids learn, you need to go over every aspect of healthy eating habits.
Less is sometimes more
A lot of people are under the impression that healthy food is a strict label. If something is considered healthy, you’re supposed to be able to eat as much of it as you want. Not exactly. Certain healthy foods, like fruit, are great sources of healthy sugar, but they’re still made of sugar. If your kids eat a whole bag of strawberries and get sated off of that, they still ate a whole meal consisting of a bunch of sugar.
One of the key tenets of healthy eating is moderation. Everything you prepare needs to have moderate amounts of certain ingredients. This fact is especially true for sugars, which have quite a reputation for being unhealthy in any form. Healthy meals need to have a perfect balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein to truly be healthy.
Slow and steady wins the race
How you eat your meals is almost as important as what you eat. Chowing down on a full meal within seconds might feel great when you’re hungry, but it’s not the healthiest way to eat. Children have very little impulse control to start with, which means if you add a little hunger into the mix, you will get a champion of speed eating.
Eating slowly is a crucial part of a proper diet. Our stomach has hormones that it needs to release to tell the brain that we are full. When kids eat too fast, their tummy won’t be able to tell them to stop in time, making them overeat and get sick after certain meals. Not to mention, eating fast is very rarely followed up with proper chewing techniques, which means that not all the nutrients are going to be absorbed.
Teach them that slow and steady is the way to go while emphasizing the importance of chewing properly.
Don’t push it
While kids might not know how much they need to eat during a meal, that doesn’t mean that their body doesn’t. Pop culture has taught us all that making your child finish lunch and dinner is proper manners, and that they will benefit from eating the full meal. While you want to help your child to develop healthy eating habits, you don’t want to cause an adverse effect.
However, there’s no reason to force it down their throats. If your kid says that they’re full, you should encourage them to finish the meal, but don’t push them too hard. Forcing them to eat more than they can handle is only going to make it harder to reduce portions later on. Let their bodies speak for them while also offering advice and encouragement.
Variety is key
When you find a healthy recipe that keeps your kids happy and consistently eating, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making it every other day. Eating the same food over and over isn’t exactly a healthy way to eat. Part of managing a healthy diet is making sure that it’s as diverse as possible.
There are so many vitamins and minerals that your food needs to provide you, and it’s impossible to get all of them from a select few meals. When you introduce a lot of variety in a diet, you’re guaranteeing that every base is covered at least a tiny bit, which means you and your kids will never miss out on a key healthy ingredient.
Variety also helps teach your kids that different food isn’t something to be afraid of. Instead, it’s something that they should embrace and see as a new experience.
Healthy can be a treat
There’s a common misconception among kids and adults alike that healthy food can’t be a treat. You have to endure healthy food and then occasionally enjoy an unhealthy treat. This thought couldn’t be further from the truth. Healthy food can be just as delicious as a processed treat, and in most cases, it’s even better.
Children aren’t always aware of this, so it’s best to teach them early on with some great examples. Fruit and interesting chocolates go extremely well together, especially in attractive fruit bouquet arrangements. There are more than a few cakes and cookies that aren’t as unhealthy as they might seem at first glance.
Anything homemade will only have the ingredients that you add, which means you don’t have to fear additional sugar, oil, and calories. This is why homemade treats and cakes are always preferable. You can easily make helping your child develop healthy eating habits exciting doing this!
When you eat meals together as a family, you’re turning the meal into a very pleasant bonding experience. There’s nothing better than having dinner together as a family and discussing everyday things and reminiscing about your week. Your child will see mealtime as a joyous occasion, and you can pretty much guarantee that they’ll look forward to it.
Make sure you keep the scolding and arguing to a minimum when eating. The more you argue, the quicker your child will want to go from the dinner table, which means faster eating. It doesn’t help to associate eating with stress, either.
Helping Your Child Develop Healthy Eating Habits
Healthy meal preparation and eating habits are some of the most important lessons we learn in our lives. They shape our days and nights and give us the nutrition to be productive and go forward. Because of this, it’s crucial that you act as a shining example of proper eating for your kids, so that they take on these habits for themselves.