Almost every parent of a toddler-aged child knows how difficult it can be to fight the food battle. Finicky eaters start to emerge as children gain their sense of independence and begin to test the boundaries imposed by mom and dad. You may be winning individual battles about broccoli during dinner, but losing the overall war to promote well-balanced, nutritious meals. In the end, every parent just wants their kids to make healthy food choices.
The best way to encourage healthy eating in your children is to eat healthy yourself. This is true of almost any behavior. On the whole, children are more likely to eat what mom and dad eat. Read on for a few tips for helping your kids learn how to make good choices.
1) Have healthy food on hand. If you want your kids to choose veggies, fruit, and juice over chips, candy, and pop, then you should have those selections accessible in your home. Avoid buying junk food regularly, and save it for special occasions, such as movie night.
2) Eat together. Sit down as a family to eat together as often as possible. This way, you can demonstrate to your kids how to eat slowly and enjoy each bite. You can answer questions about why you eat certain foods and help older kids with portion control. Desserts should be a mealtime treat that incorporate limited portions and healthy ingredients. Avoid TV during mealtimes at all costs, as it takes away from your ability to enjoy the food and engage in beneficial conversation with your kids.
3) Do the grocery shopping together. When exploring your local market, stick to the edge of the store (produce, bakery, butcher) as much as possible, and avoid the processed foods in the aisles. Allow your kids to pick out fruits, veggies, and other healthy snacks or suggest meal ideas that everyone could enjoy.
Through these simple and straightforward tips, you and your children can enjoy many years of creating and enjoying healthy meals together.