Promoting Healthy Eating Habits in Children- Tips & Tricks

Promoting Healthy Eating Habits in Children- Tips & Tricks

Promoting healthy eating habits in children is an important part of parenting. In today's market, where everything seems to be laden with artificial flavors and sweeteners, it might prove difficult to promote healthy foods for your children. But using the following strategies, you will be able to fulfill your role as a parent and make sure your children follow healthy eating habits so that they can lead healthy lifestyles.

What Is Healthy Eating?

Healthy eating is essentially consuming a wide variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain good health, feel well and be energized. These nutrients include carbohydrates, vitamins, protein, fat, water and minerals. These nutrients, including many more, have to be consumed regularly for maximum effectiveness. So, what better way to get your children to eat healthy than promoting healthy eating habits that they'll practice their entire lives?

Why Is It Important To Promote Healthy Eating Children?

Since young children are actively growing and developing, there are numerous benefits of healthy eating for children. Some of the most prominent ones are:

  1. Keeps vital organs, skin, eyes and teeth healthy
  2. Supports and strengthens muscles
  3. Helps children achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  4. Strengthens bones
  5. Supports the development 0f the brain
  6. Supports healthy growth
  7. Boosts immunity in the body and prevents chronic diseases
  8. Helps the digestive system function properly
  9. Stabilises energy
  10. Improves mental health
How Can You Promote Healthy Eating Habits?

Some of the most important aspects of healthy eating are reducing your child's sugar and fat intake and portion control. The most simple way to promote healthy eating habits is to introduce healthy foods into your child's diet from the moment they start eating solid foods. Some of the best options are,

  1. Skinless poultry
  2. Whole grain breads and cereals
  3. Healthy snacks like organic fruits and veggies.
  4. Lean cuts of meats
  5. Low-fat to nonfat dairy products

Reducing the amount of sugar-sweetened drinks and salt in your child's diet is also very important. Some other approaches to promoting healthy eating habits in your own family are:

  • Lead by example

The best way to instill healthy eating habits in your children is to model these behaviors in yourself from the very beginning. Thus, your children will see healthy eating as the norm and not the exception.

  • Be a healthy food guide, not a dictator

Make a wide variety of healthy foods available at home. Ask for your child's opinion when preparing meals and guide them on making healthier choices. This practice will provide a valuable life skill as you are essentially schooling them on making healthy food choices from an early age.

  • Encourage slow eating

Eating meals slowly can help your child detect hunger and fullness better as their brain is given time to register fullness. Before offering second servings, wait 15 minutes to see if they are truly hungry or just greedy. If they do want a second portion, make it smaller than the first.

  • Eat meals together as frequently as possible

Try to make mealtimes a pleasant time for conversation and sharing. Unpleasant mealtimes, filled with arguing and scolding, will force your child to eat faster so that they can leave early. Thus, they will learn to associate eating with stress. Also, avoid eating in front of the TV as it will make it difficult to detect feelings of fullness, causing your child to overeat.

  • Involve your children in the preparation process

Taking your child along with you when you do your shopping will give you hints about your child's food preferences. You can also use this as an opportunity to teach your children about nutrition and how to check labels and ingredient lists to make the healthiest food choices. In addition, your children might be more willing to eat or try foods that they helped select or prepare, as it gives them a sense of accomplishment.

  • Plan for snacks

Though continuous snacks may lead to overeating and gaining unhealthy weight, snacks planned at specific times throughout the day can add to your child's nutritious diet. You should make these planned snacks as healthy as possible but don't deprive your child of the occasional sweet or chips.

Pro tip: The internet is abundant in snack recipes that are both cost-efficient and super healthy. Follow these recipes, and don't be afraid to get creative when you're making your healthy snacks.

  • Set family goals

Set family goals such as restricting desserts to weekends or only having sodas on certain days and special occasions. Doing things collectively as a team effort can make eating healthy foods very enjoyable and makes reaching goals very satisfying.

  • Encourage your family to drink more water

The importance of drinking water regularly and staying hydrated cannot be overstated. Not only is it good for one's health as a whole, but it also limits your child's consumption of sweetened drinks and sodas.

  • Don't punish or reward with food

Withholding food as punishment leads children to believe they will go hungry. Thus, children may try to eat (often unhealthy) foods whenever they get the chance. Similarly, using sweets and other unhealthy foods as rewards can lead children to believe that they are more valuable than healthy foods.

  • Make sure your children's meals outside are balanced

Research about your children's school lunch program, or better yet, pack their lunch with healthier foods. Even when dining at restaurants, try to select the healthier option.

  • Be mindful of portion sizes

When buying food, read food labels and limit foods that have trans fats in them. Be mindful about the serving sizes that you place on the table, as serving large portions of anything can cause obesity and drowsiness.

But never place your overweight child(ren) on a restrictive diet unless it is prescribed by a doctor. Encouraging restrictive diets might cause your children to be diagnosed with destructive food disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

Final Words

Promoting healthy eating habits in children is imperative for their health and future. But remember, don't try to enforce healthy eating habits on your children in a way that makes them detest healthy foods. Be experimental with it, and always try new things. It is also equally important to let loose once in a while and treat yourself and your children to a sugary sweet. The important thing is to make sure that healthy foods are your children's default diet.