10 easy ways to Promote Healthy Eating for your Child
It’s not easy. Fast food is everywhere. It’s brightly coloured – that’s both the packaging and the food. It’s smartly targeted at your children. The marketing tries to make them beg for a McDonalds or a take-out pizza. In this context, how do you get them to like eating healthy food? Here are some tips to help you avoid dinner time disturbances:
Take the children shopping, have them prepare food and they will become involved and more likely to eat the meal. Even very young children can help you make choices (green or red apples? Edam or Cheddar?) at the supermarket. Simple recipes they can help decide on and cook are an excellent way to get kids interested in healthy cooking and eating.
Don’t only go to the supermarket. Go to the local farmer’s market (or to the farm itself) and meet the people who grow the food. Picking food out of the ground or off the tree can build a lasting affection for good food and the environment. For example, visiting a dairy farm can teach children where milk comes from, and seeing a chicken coop can show them where eggs come from. Planting watercress and berries in the garden may tempt a child to try the fruits of their labour.
Did you know?
One of the most popular pizza toppings in Brazil is green peas!
Did you Know?
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy (calories) and are a key fuel source for exercise and sport.
Children like snacks. If you have biscuits and sweets, that’s what they’ll have. But if you have healthy ones they’ll have little choice but to eat them. As your children get older, keep healthy snacks within reach in the kitchen.
Some kids eat more when they’re on the go than when they’re at home. Be prepared with snacks such as sliced cucumber, apples, carrots, whole grain crackers, unsalted popcorn, raisins and other fruits and grains. In the morning on the way to school or on the way back, why not ensure they’re getting all their nutrients (vitamins and mineral), even on the busiest days, with a tasty chewable vitamin like ActiKid®.
Kids want to have it their way. But no parent wants to make four different meals for four different family members. Instead, offer a suitable meal, like rice and beans, tortillas or pasta. Then let the children finish the cooking with a variety of salad and/or meat. This approach works especially well when you’re serving young guests whose food preferences you may have trouble predicting.
Kids like choices at snack time too, so in the morning before they leave for school give them a couple of choices of fruit. If they feel like they’re deciding what they’re going to eat rather than being forced, they’re more likely to eat up. Any deficiencies that may result from their decisions can be rectified with a multivitamin like ActiKid® which contains the nutrients necessary for your child to function at their best during the day.
Children don’t have to just eat their 5-a-day, they can also drink them. Freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and other drinks like mango lassi can be a tasty and enjoyable way to introduce new fruits.
Did you Know?
The word cutlery comes from the Old French coutelier, from coutel meaning knife. The first mention of it in England is in a tax return from 1297.
New studies have shown that children’s tastes are considerably related to foods that their mothers liked and disliked. Allowing your children to see you order a fresh salad rather a pizza or hot-dog at the restaurant or café may encourage them to do the same.
Findings show that most children need several chances (between 5 and 10) to try new foods. This doesn’t mean that showing them the same kiwi or mango five nights in a row will have them asking for more. But it does mean that you shouldn’t give up after the first, second or even third attempt.
The sweetness, saltiness and crunchiness of junk food, not to mention the added chemicals and fat, makes it addictive to children and adults alike. Nevertheless parents should not ban junk food completely as it becomes a ‘forbidden fruit’ making it more tempting to children. They may have access to it outside of the house anyway. Limit junk food intake to no more than one junk food meal a week, perhaps on a particularly busy night. Other treats can be eaten a few times a week, for example after school on a Friday or as dessert at the weekends.
Buying the occasional treat is fine, but avoid bulk buying of crisps, sweets, biscuits and chocolates. You might think they’ll last a long time but chances are once they’re in the house you and your children will devour them in no time. Instead buy one single packet each per child (and for yourself, why not?) and they will have to take it slowly and appreciate the food as a treat, not as a routine snack. Any bulk-size snack foods you do buy should be kept out of children’s sight so that they will be less tempted to graze on it throughout the day.
It may seem that your kids do the exact opposite of your healthy-eating advice, but actually your opinions and actions do have a major impact on how they eat. Young children in particular like to copy what their parents do, and are likely to copy your food habits and readiness to try new meals. Eat dinner with your children every day, or as often as possible. If you have older kids, discourage them from complaining when eating dinner or talking negatively about a certain meal around a younger child at the dinner table.
Did you Know?
Carrots used to be purple before the 17th century. Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant strains of the purple carrot and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today. Some think that the reason the orange carrot became so popular in the Netherlands was in tribute to the emblem of the House of Orange and the struggle for Dutch independence. This could be, but it also might just be that the orange carrots that the Dutch developed were sweeter tasting and more fleshy than their purple counterparts, thus providing more food per plant and being better tasting.
Did you Know?
The average chicken contain 266% more fat than it did 40 years ago.
Did we miss out any good tips? What tricks do you use to get your child eating their greens? Please let us know.
This article contains general information regarding health and well-being. This information is not intended as advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to advice from medical or educational professionals.