Cookies, chips, candy and sodas are all tempting treats, especially for children. These treats are at their disposal at school, at the movies and when they visit their friends’ houses. As a parent, it’s up to you to introduce your child to healthy eating habits. With busy schedules and the influence of their friends, getting children to eat healthy foods can be challenging.
Start teaching your child healthy eating habits at an early age, even as babies. PBS Parents, an online resource for parenting, suggests using meal and snack times to teach children how to make good decisions regarding what they eat.
Colors and shapes are appealing to children, so preparing healthy meals and snacks that incorporate the two can encourage your child to practice healthy eating habits. Use cookie cutters to make fruits and vegetables look more appealing to kids. Combine different color combinations of fruits and vegetables to make a meal kids can’t keep their eyes off of and are curious to try.
Let Them Help
Invite your child into the kitchen to help you plan and prepare meals for the family. Sit down together on Sunday evenings to come up with a menu plan for the week. Cooking together during the week gives you a chance to discuss ingredients, why they’re important and their health benefits.
Eat as a family, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or a combination. Kids Health, an online resources for parents, children and teens, notes that when children eat meals with their families, they are more likely to indulge in healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and avoid munching on unhealthy treats.
Nix Fast Food
Avoid stopping at fast-food restaurants when you’re on the road traveling for vacation or hustling between after-school activities. Instead, come up with a list of healthy snacks your child enjoys, place the serving sizes in small sandwich bags and put them in the pantry for easy access.
Set an Example
Set a good example by eating healthy foods during breakfast, lunch, dinner and for snacks. If your child sees you eating right, he could be motivated to follow suit. He may also become interested in what you’re eating and ask to try it.
Bring Them Along
Take your child along when you do your grocery shopping. Whether you’re going to the farmers market or a supermarket chain, you can show your child different foods and explain the health benefits. Some markets even offer samples, which is exciting for children.