A healthy and nutritious diet is essential for everyone, and particularly for children as they grow. However, as many parents know, it can often be a bit of a challenge to encourage them to enjoy eating well and can lead to fussy eating habits as well as plenty of meltdowns at mealtimes. There are some simple ways to introduce healthier foods into your children’s meals, so read on to find out more about them.
Have meals together as a family
Eating together as a family can be a wonderful way of spending quality time together, as well as encouraging better eating habits. While many of our lifestyles have gotten busier and more complex, making time to enjoy at least one meal together every day is a good start to make a healthy diet part of the family lifestyle.
Use family mealtimes to model good eating habits by having a variety of ‘safe’ and more novel foods in the mix, allowing children to try a little of everything for themselves, without pressure to eat anything specifically. Meal times are a great time to relax and have a conversation about what has been happening in everyone’s lives, and this can also reduce stress overeating unfamiliar foods.
Have a mix of healthy snacks and treats available
While eating a high amount of sugary, processed, or high-fat foods is certainly unhealthy for anyone, especially kids, this does not mean that they need to be eradicated or demonized entirely. In fact, this can often be counter-productive by making certain forbidden foods more alluring, especially as children get older and are able to access snacks at school and other places.
Instead, encourage a healthy approach to enjoying treats in moderation by mixing up a few treat items with more healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetable pieces. Children’s gummy vitamins are also a fun way of adding a nutritional boost to their daily diet in a fun and enjoyable form.
Get kids involved with food preparation
Helping children to feel more engaged and connected with the food on their plate is a great way of encouraging a healthier approach to eating habits, as it can be empowering to see and understand where their food comes from. You can get children involved with their food in several ways, such as encouraging them to pick a new item from the produce section to add to dinner. This can be a fun way to experiment with flavors and textures as well as making healthy foods seem less daunting.
Allowing children to get involved in the kitchen during meal preparation is also a fun way of helping them to learn more about food. Giving simple tasks, such as mixing a salad, chopping vegetables, or sampling a home-made dressing, can help them learn more about what goes into their food, as well as helping them feel more independent. Don’t worry about making messes – this is an inevitable part of having kids in the kitchen!