Top 6 Ways To Introduce Healthy Foods To Your Kids
Getting kids to eat healthy is a real bear. But, as parents, it’s our responsibility to encourage healthy eating habits in our children and introduce them to healthy foods. Here’s a guide that will help you to get your kids to make healthy choices.Most children are picky eaters and junk food fans. Double trouble! Ensuring that our children eat healthy is complicated, to say the least. As parents, after all, we want the best for them and always want them to be in pink of their health, due to this we often tend to get forceful and strict. But that is not desirable, as it increases the child’s aversion to what we offer. Then, what does one do to get their kids to eat healthy? Well, it isn’t as hard as you think. All you need to do is to play smart.
Try these 6 ways to introduce healthy foods to your children. We promise, you would thank us later.
1. Give them the freedom to choose –
Everyone, including kids, likes to make their own choices in life, especially when it comes to food. So be smart, and give your kids only healthy options to choose from. For example, if you are making a fruit salad, let your child choose the fruits they want in the salad; let them select the topping for the salad. Or you could make a menu at home which includes only healthy dishes. Pretend to play, where they could order any of the dishes from the menu. This would make believe that what they would be eating is of their choice. When kids are free to choose, they are happy to eat!
2. Get them involved –
Make your children a part of your healthy meal-making process. Do it all together – chalking out the menu, shopping for ingredients, a joint cooking exercise. This will help increase the child’s interest and appetite for the dish, as he/she will have had a hand in creating it. And there is nothing more satisfying than something one has created.
3. Little by little –
‘Small bites at a time’ should be the motto when it comes to introducing healthy foods to your child. It’s a question of discovery of taste and flavour for your kids. A suggestion – make the food as tasty as possible, for the palate, as well as for the eyes. Use a cookie cutter to cut food into fun shapes and plate it in an interesting manner. You could try making cartoon characters, animal faces, anything your kid loves and associates with. Remember, kids love colour, so, instead of using all healthy ingredients of a similar colour, try to use healthy ingredients in different colours. For example, instead of adding using green cabbage in a broccoli dish, use red cabbage. A good-looking, child-friendly meal will encourage your child to at least try a bite. If your kids love it from the get-go, you have nothing to worry about.
4. Show and tell –
There is a saying – ‘What the eyes do not see, the mind does not know’. Show your kids what a healthy plate of food looks like. Include foods that make a wholesome meal – meat (protein), cereals (carbs), fruits and vegetables (minerals and vitamins). Show them portions – the right quantities of each food group. You could give them a ‘task’ to plate and when they do it correctly, reward them.
5. Go to the source –
If you want your children to eat fruits and vegetables, first tell them about the goodness of these foods. That does not mean making mealtimes lecture classes, oh no! Make it interesting – give first-hand knowledge. Take your kids out to a vegetable or fruit garden nearby, to see how fruits and vegetables are being grown. Better still, create a kitchen garden of your own, and teach your children how to grow fruits and vegetables. Discuss the nutrient value of what you grow. This way, your kids will get interested, and will eat the fruits of their labour happily. Having a kitchen garden at home will also help you make sure that the food you and especially your child eats is organic, fresh, and free from pesticides. It would also help your kids learn about seasonal and regional foods- the foods that are the key to eating healthy.
6. Go digital –
Who says technology does kids no good? Technology helps us parents in many ways in raising our children. In the area of development of food habits, there are video and computer games that help to create an interest in children about healthy foods. Through these games, children get to know about the science, history, and culture of different foods. They become aware of what to eat, why to eat, when to eat – and awareness is all-important for making the right choices.
Lastly, remember, your kids won’t eat healthy until you do. Kids love to imitate adults. If you want your child to eat healthy foods, you need to eat it with them. Be a role model for them. Be careful about what you eat in front of them. You can’t make your child eat peas while you binge on potato chips. Only eat what you want them to eat. Also, once in a while let your child indulge a bit in his/her favourite ‘fast food’, a little bit of cheating makes things chill, then be it parenting.
Try these methods, and see what works for your child. Good luck!