Children these days do not have healthy eating habits. They prefer to have oily food and junk foods. They also don't eat on specific time and thus end up over eating. By teaching your children healthy eating habits, and acting as role models yourselves you can help your children maintain a healthy weight and normal growth. When a child develops these habits at a young age it will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle when they become adults. Here are a few tips to build healthy eating habits in your kids.
Guide your Family's Choices Rather than Dictate Foods
Make a wide variety of healthy foods available in the house. This practice will help your children learn how to make healthy food choices. Leave the unhealthy choices like soda and juice at the grocery store. Serve water with meals.
Encourage your Children to Eat Slowly
A child can detect hunger and fullness better when they eat slowly. Before offering a second helping or serving, ask your child to wait a few minutes to see if they are truly still hungry.
Eat meals together as a family as often as possible.
Try to make mealtimes pleasant with conversation and sharing. Its not a time for scolding or arguing. If mealtimes are unpleasant, children may try to eat faster to leave the table as soon as possible.
Involve your children in Shopping and Preparing Meals
These activities will give you hints about your children's food preferences, and also serves as an opportunity to teach your child about nutrition.
Plan for Snacks
Continuous snacking may lead to overeating. But healthy snacks must be provided to children between the main meals. Snacks as nutritious as possible can be prepared at home. Keep plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice) around and easily accessible so that kids become used to reaching for healthy snacks instead of empty calorie snacks like soda, chips or cookies.
Discourage Eating Meals or Snacks While Watching TV
Children should try to eat only in designated areas of your home, such as the dining room or kitchen. Eating in front of the TV may make it difficult to pay attention to feelings of fullness, and may lead to overeating.
Encourage your Children to Drink More Water
Over consumption of sweetened drinks and sodas has been linked to increased rates of obesity in children.
Try Not to Use Food to Punish or Reward your Children
When foods such as sweets are used as a reward, children may assume that these foods are better or more valuable than the other foods. For example, telling children that they will get dessert if they eat all of their vegetables sends the wrong message about vegetables.
Make Sure your Children's Meals Outside Home are Balanced
Find out more about their school lunch program, or pack their lunch to include a variety of foods. Also, select healthier items while dining at restaurants.
Pay Attention to Portion Size and Ingredients
Read food labels and limit foods with trans-fat. Also, make sure you serve the appropriate portion as indicated on the label.
Cook More Meals at Home
Eating home cooked meals is healthier for the whole family and sets a great example for kids about the importance of food. Restaurant meals tend to have more fat, sugar and salt. Save dining out for special occasions.
Eating home cooked meals is healthier for the whole family and sets a great example for kids about the importance of food.