As parents, we experience a lot of frustration when it comes to providing food for the family and feeding our children. Eating issues consume a lot of our energy and time; and we are often confused about what buy, how to cook and how to persuade our kids to eat healthy. We love our children so much that we only want to provide them with the best.
You may have heard that “we are what we eat”, and “food changes everything”. This is especially true in childhood because food is the fuel for growth and development and it provides little ones with the energy to learn and play. So, teaching your kids to eat healthy is one of the best gifts you can offer them.
The first five years are crucial as children are exploring and learning about foods, and is when food preferences and nutrition practices are established for life. As a parent, you are the first and most important role model for your children; as they grow, peers and teachers become increasingly important.
Seven Tips to Get Your Kids Eating Healthy
Here are my seven tips to give your kids the right start in life with healthy eating:
- Your role is to provide healthy choices at certain times during the day (meals/snacks). You decide what and when you offer food, but your kids decide how much they eat.
- Offer a variety of healthy foods. Serve your kids a rainbow of colours every day at every meal and snack.
- Keep in mind that eating any amount is better than none. Think about your child’s intake over the week rather than daily.
- Keep trying, but do not force eating. Children learn to like new foods through repeated exposures to those foods in anencouraging parental environment.
- Walk the talk. Kids love watching their parents eating and enjoying healthy food
- Avoid using food as a reward. When parents offer unhealthy foods as rewards, children become confused as it contradicts the messages they hear about good nutrition and health.
- Sit at the table and enjoy food together as much as possible. The family that eats together, stays together!
Paola Espinel is a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach at Be Wise Be Healthy and a mother of two young girls. She inspires busy mothers with young children to integrate gradual, sustainable food and lifestyle choices so they can experience abundant physical and emotional health, long-lasting vitality, and can become great role models for their love ones. Connect with her on Facebook and visit her blog here.
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