Trying to make your child have healthier eating habits may be difficult, but remember that it’s never too late to change their habits – especially at a young age. Here are a few tips to get your child(ren) on a healthy track!
Family Meals – Family meals are comforting for both parents and kids. Children like the predictability of family meals and parents get a chance to catch up with their kids. Kids who take part in regular family meals are also more likely to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains, as well as less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Family meals are also a chance for parents to introduce kids to new foods and to be role models for healthy eating.
Stock Up on Healthy Foods – Younger kids usually eat what is available at home, which is why it’s important to control your supply of foods when grocery shopping. Try to work fruits and vegetables into their daily routine, aiming for the goal of at least five servings a day, making sure you serve fruit or vegetables at every meal. It is also important that you make it easy for kids to choose healthy snacks by keeping fruits and vegetables on hand and ready to eat. Healthy snacks include low-fat yogurt, peanut butter and celery, or whole-grain crackers and cheese. Limit fast food and low-nutrient snacks, such as chips and candy, but don’t completely ban favorite snacks from your home. Instead, make them “once-in-a-while” foods, so kids don’t feel deprived. Cut empty calories, such as soda and fruit-flavored drinks, serving water and low-fat milk instead.
Get Kids Involved – Getting your child involved in meal preparations is something they may enjoy, because they have a choice in what they want to eat; talk about having a balanced meal and choosing ingredients for healthier options. Getting them involved can also help prepare them to make good decisions on their own about the foods they want to eat; the mealtime habits you help create now can lead to a lifetime of healthier choices.