We all know that it can be a real struggle to eat healthy, especially as a family
Teaching kids healthy habits while they are young, is important. Once you have developed an unhealthy eating habit and carried it into your adulthood, it is much harder to change that habit.
These 10 Simple Steps Could Lead You and Your Family To Healthier Eating Habits
- Mix It Up. Eating foods with lots of colors is very appealing to kids. We are NOT talking about Fruity Pebbles, but rather fruits and vegetables. Mix up your meals with red, yellow, orange, and purple veggies. Your kids will be intrigued at all the amazing colors and you can make fun associations to the colors of the food with their favorite cartoon characters.
- Drink Water. Make sure you always have a clean, pure water supply very handy for your kids to help themselves. Make it a habit for your thirsty kids to go for the water before the juice. Try to limit the soda and sports drinks in the fridge. You’ll notice the more water your family drinks, the less cravings for sugary drinks they will have.
- Eat Together. Families who eat together tend to be healthier. This goes for physical and emotional health. Keep the conversation light and fun and stay away from serious subjects while eating. This is a time to celebrate the day and celebrate the joys of being a family.
- Turn off the Noise. Turn off all electronics such as iPads, televisions, etc. These distractions can cause bad eating habits. The attention should be on the food and on each other. Pay attention to how you feel when you are eating. Those who use electronics while they eat tend to over eat.
- Hungry vs. Full. Teaching your children what it feels like to be hungry or full is a very important part of their eating habits. Don’t force your children to eat more than they should, however, read the signals to know if they are just playing games with you. This is a difficult task for many parents and demands a lot of patience. We also don’t want to be wasteful, but forcing our children to eat past their “full” limit could develop bad eating habits.
- Encourage new foods. We tend to offer our children only the foods that we think they will like, or only the foods that we like. Mix it up and try new things, you never know what type of diverse taste buds your kids can develop. When your children are offered a new food, suggest they take at least 2 bites. This will not only open up their taste buds to new things, but will also open up their interest and diverse ways of accepting new things.
- Cook with your children. Cooking is an essential part of our lives. Cooking at home can not only save money but can be a lot healthier than eating out. Your children will need to cook for themselves one day. Show them around the kitchen. Teach them what is dangerous and what to be careful of. Show them how to prepare food. This is a fun way to teach them about the different ingredients and a great way to bond.
- Avoid the Reward/Punishment System. Food is not a reward, nor should it be used as punishment. Food is a necessity for life and should be celebrated. The only associations we should be trying to develop with our children are that food fulfills our hunger craving and it makes us feel good. There are many other things you can use for your reward/punishment system such as television time.
- Exercise. Play time is exercise time for your kids. Encourage a lot of movement during this time. Aim for at least 60 minutes of play time a day. This is the time your children are using their food for energy and you’ll find your kids tend to want to eat healthier when they are more active. Their systems will crave the vitamins and nutrients to replenish their active lifestyle.
- Teach them about plants and herbs. Education through food will be very beneficial to your children throughout their lives. Showing them how herbs can be used for different things is a great way to expand their education. Some herbs can help with sleep while others can help with belly aches. Some herbs are really strong and are not good for children. Teach them these things, you’ll be surprised how receptive your children are to learning.
photo credit: Cook With Your Children
photo credit: Children Should Drink Plenty of Fresh Water
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