Ensuring that your child eats healthily is often an uphill task. While difficult, early food exposure and experiences will form the basis of a lifetime of taste and preferences. Here are some things that you can do to inculcate healthy eating habits amongst your family members.
- Be a role model
Children mimic their surroundings. Whatever you do, however small, can leave a lasting impact on their young minds. If you show that you take active and concrete steps to care for your body because you love your health, your kids are likely to do the same.
- Do not label your kids
Calling your child a “picky eater” can send a signal indicating lowered expectations of their eating habits. This can, in turn, hint to your child that you are surrendering to their habits. An alternative to labelling will be to treat the child’s relationship with food as something that keeps changing with time.
- Scan for junk food everywhere
Laziness can get to everyone. When you feel tired or lazy, you are likely to grab the most convenient snack. By having sugary, salty, and unhealthy snacks laying around in the pantry, you are inviting yourself to indulge unnecessarily. As such, be on a lookout for snacks in the kitchen, on the living room table, and anywhere else around the house.
- Cook together
Make your child’s journey with healthy food a fun one. By disassociating healthy food with tedium and rigidity, kids may be more likely to form a stronger connection. Through kitchen preparations, children can even have a chance to sample new foods and gain a deeper appreciation for what goes into making a wholesome family meal. Whipping up a dish can also allow the child to feel accomplished and is definitely a great bonding experience for them and their parents. It can get messy though, so be sure to get your child to help you in cleaning up. This also teaches them about being responsible for their own messes.
Beyond all these, remember to make time to have food together, on the same table, in real life. Enjoy the moment with your loved ones no matter how busy it gets and be grateful for the opportunity!