Eating habit is not something that develops naturally, instead it’s the foods that someone eats on a regular basis which eventually leads the person getting habituated to that. This theory is even more applicable to kids who just follow their parents. So, if you’re a parent, developing a healthy eating habit for your kids mostly depends on you!
Making a proper diet plan including all the necessary nutrients and sticking to that plan is a rule of thumb for each health-conscious parent. TV advertisements on junk foods can be distractive in this case yet you have to enlighten your kids about their demerits in a subtle way so that it becomes easy for them to understand.
Kids, in general, get upset with their parents when they try to dominate them with restrictions. So, be gentle with your kids. Don’t force any food only because it’s healthy. Introduce them to the food through something interesting. It will grow curiosity within them to know more of that food and taste it to find similarity with your story.
There is a lot of ways to get your kid habituated to a healthy diet plan. The only thing you should remember is – keeping patience and following some effective techniques or methods. Here are 7 ways to encourage your kid to eat better-
1. Let Kids try new foods when they’re hungry
Getting kids introduced to fresh foods is a bit tricky. If their tummy doesn’t feel the need, you cannot let them eat something even if it’s delicious! So, when hunger strikes your kid, consider it the best time to get them something better, something healthy. On the other hand, when your kid is hungry, he will even gobble foods like leafy greens or salads with great pleasure! Make a target to make your kid eat healthy vegetables when they’re hungry at least thrice or four times a week. Eventually, they’ll get habituated to eat these foods with the passage of time.
2. Create options for kids rather than imposing any specific food
Kids usually hate restrictions, and they tend to disobey parents who shout at them to eat something specific leaving them with no alternatives. So, keeping this thing in mind, you better give them choices to pick one from that. For example- you may request them to choose between sautéed vegetables and roasted chicken, or between Apple and orange smoothie. Try to observe their reaction when you provide them with choices. Studies found that kids like it the most when parents offer a flexible diet plan instead of just a single food on the menu. Just make sure you consider the health and nutrition issues while making a choice list for your kids.
3. Encourage your kid to be the chef!
Kids, especially girls, find it fascinating when their mothers encourage them to cook something. Cooking does not necessarily mean making the dish ready for the party. It can be as simple as making the batter for cakes or mixing fruits to make a fruit salad. Let your kid help you while making a delicious dish. Tell them how you prepare it and encourage them to do it themselves someday. Tell them that you’ll be the assistant and they’ll be the chef today. Turn cooking into a fun activity! It will encourage your kid to learn about new dishes and enjoy them with the whole family.
4. Reward kids in return for eating something better
Who doesn’t love to get compliments on their good activities? When your kid secures a good score in the finals, you reward them with candies or something they like, don’t you? Similarly, when your kid is convinced to eat something better like whole grains, fresh fruits, or any healthy food, reward them for listening to you. It not only makes them delighted but also encourages them to follow your commands more and more. Things just get better with appraisals. When your kids understand that you value their efforts, it becomes a booster for them in future. In this way, you can encourage your kids to eat better without any excuses.
5. Tell your kid about the food
Don’t expect your kid to emphasize the same thing as you do. While parents are concerned about the nutrition value of foods, kids are mostly concerned about the texture, shape, or uniqueness of the food. Interesting, isn’t it? You can hardly convince your kid to eat something better just by telling them how healthy it is. So, you better express your feelings about food e.g. its color, shape, smell, taste, etc. in a compelling way so that your kid gets encouraged to taste it himself!
6. Don’t just push your kid to eat better, make it a family affair
One of the most effective ways to encourage your kid to eat better is by making it a family affair. Prepare a different item once a week and enjoy it with the whole family. Discuss the food’s taste, texture, etc. and get remarks from each family member including your kid. Make sure you focus on the most attractive things about that item so that your kid finds it worthy of a try next time!
7. Make yourself an idle for your kid
It is the most difficult way to win your kid’s heart. Parents are the most trustworthy people for a kid. So, why don’t you stay fit by having a healthy diet and make yourself an example for your kid? When kids see that their parents don’t get sick on a frequent basis and stay upbeat even after a busy day, they find it encouraging to follow their parents. Remember, a healthy physique, and a joyous mind attracts kids a lot to eat something better to be like their parents.
The eating habit of your kid mostly depends on how you let them develop it. So, keep the tips and tricks in mind before you impose anything on them. Since kids don’t find interest in knowing the long-term health benefits of foods, escape it. Don’t make it annoying when you encourage them to eat something better. Help your kid feel curiosity about food and they will do the rest!