Raising a healthy eater is no easy job because these days kids’ definition of good food isn’t always healthy at all and you have to work hard and ensure that they get it right. If you don’t help them change their perception of fruits, veggies, eggs and other foods that children often frown at, you will end up with battles every mealtime. It needs a lot of patience and of course time to get children to eat healthily. The whole family has to help and everyone at home has to develop a character of healthy eating for children to follow suit. While you would like it to be an easy ride, parenting calls for some rules and these 10 will help you raise kids that eat healthily…
No One Speaks Bad About Food On The Table
This one includes adults as well because children’s perception of food often comes from how the adults talk about and treat the food. You have to create a culture of treating meal times as fun times where there is positivity all around the table. Make sure that no one is saying bad things about how food has been prepared or how it tastes because that may lead to kids developing a dislike for food that may be otherwise very healthy.
Everyone Takes Part In The Preparation
No one will reject food that they helped prepare. If healthy food reaches the table and isn’t quite up to the standard that kids like it, they may not frown at it as much if they did dice the fruits or helped buy them from the store. The same goes for eggs, veggies and any other food that kids can help prepare. Having everyone help in getting food to the table helps them appreciate it more and that can go a long way in promoting healthy eating.
No Labeling Of Food As Good Or Bad
The reason why parents have to fight so hard with picky eaters is that they have already labelled certain foods as bad. Anytime “bad” food comes to the table, mealtime is over and that is just no way to enjoy healthy food as a family. You should therefore root out the habit of labelling food in your home and that may require you to be harsh sometimes. Adults should also avoid calling out bad food in front of children if this rule is to work.
No Restrictions On Healthy Food
Kids need to eat small quantities of food as frequently as possible to sustain their high levels of metabolism. If you don’t offer them healthy food to munch on whenever they are healthy, they will go for snacks or starve until mealtime and end up eating more sugary filling foods than the healthiest servings. You should therefore let healthy food flow in your home and not restrict anyone that is willing to have a bite.
No Snacks Before A Meal
Over snacking makes it hard for children to appreciate the taste of actual food. It gets worse when they have too many snacks before mealtime because their blood sugar is high and they have very little interest in the healthiest food you present. You should therefore enforce a two to three-hour snack curfew before mealtime so that everyone comes to the table ready to eat.
Everyone Eats Veggies And Fruits
The French have this habit where they serve the vegetables at mealtime before the main meal and kids eat the veggies knowing that they will only have their treat after the vegetables. You don’t have to use the same approach but you can enforce a rule that everything you serve at the table goes onto everyone’s plate unless they are allergic to it. That means both kids and adults don’t get to skip on your bowl of veggies and fruits and that will encourage a healthy eating habit.
No Rewards For Eating Healthy
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be something you have to pay your children to do. It needs to be the culture of your home appreciated by everyone. Over praising and bribing children for them to eat healthy undermines the purpose of the entire process.
No-Fuss On The Table
Meal-time battles cause children to eat less and many end up resenting food as a whole which is bad. It doesn’t matter how bad your day was, you should leave the struggles away from your family dinner and let put on a smile. That means that kids also get to leave tantrums and rivalries behind and mealtime becomes all about love for one another and the food you served and that will encourage people to enjoy your healthy food.
No Electronics At The Table
Some parents argue that this rule only causes more fights at the table but it really isn’t that difficult. If a parent can give up an hour of their life to prepare a meal, surely a child can spare half an hour of phone and game time to eat. You may struggle with it, especially where adolescents are involved but it will be worth it in the end.
Have A Bite Of Everything Served
This rule enforces good manners and also encourages kids to have a bite of new foods you bring to the table. Now, you need to ensure that your food is presented nicely and even picky eaters get to appreciate it. You should have them at least try out the food before they write it off.
Do you know of any other way to get the little ones to eat healthier? If you do why not tell us about them in the comments below.