Most parents want their children to make healthy eating choices. What we eat is very closely linked with our general health, and what parent doesn’t want their child to be as healthy as possible?! That being said, many parents have difficulty getting their children to eat healthy food – with all the fast food and food high in fat and sugar available, what is a parent to do? Temper tantrums need not be a regular part of meal time, however.
In general, it is a poor idea to force your children to eat when they tell you they are simply not hungry. Getting in the habit of eating when you are not hungry can often lead to mindless eating. Do not let your children fill up on snacks before meals. If they say they are not hungry, then do not make them eat. But stick with it – if they are not hungry for dinner, then they will not get any dessert.
It is good for children to learn how to cook. Food that we make ourselves is often far more healthy than food we can get at restaurants. It is likewise often far cheaper, as well! Have your children help you prepare meals, closely supervising them, of course. Let them stir batters and measure out ingredients. If they grow up helping out in the kitchen, then cooking and preparing their own meals will just seem like a natural thing to them, and they are less likely to enjoy the taste of restaurant food or fast food. This is a great way to save money and make healthy food decisions.
Have regular meal times. Make sure you all sit down to dinner at roughly the same time, and avoid eating meals in front of the television. This can lead to mindless eating, which is a quick way to gain weight and make poor food choices. Make mealtime fun – discuss your day or what you would like to do on the weekend or an upcoming vacation over dinner. It will be good for your family to eat together at least once a day, and dinner is often the most convenient meal to have together.
Research shows that the foods a mother eats while she is pregnant and while she is breast feeding can influence the sorts of foods that the child enjoys eating later in life. When it comes to encouraging your child to make healthy eating decisions, it is far more effective to lead by example! If you want your children to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, make sure that you eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Include them as part of every meal, and always have plenty on hand for snacking. Lead by example – if you do not want your children to eat fast food, for example, do not eat it yourself. If you do not want them to drink soda, do not have it in the house.
Use the tips presented in this article to encourage your children to make healthy eating choices. The quality of your own eating will likely benefit!