How many times have you said this? "I can't get my kids to eat healthy foods!" I often hear parents complaining about their children’s bad eating habits. Many parents feel that it’s easier to just let them eat what they want, however, it is very important that we instill the right eating habits in our children at an early age. If we don’t, then who will? Most bad eating habits and preferences begin early in life. A large number of the behaviors that we practice in childhood usually stay with us well into adulthood, but you can start a new cycle with your children today. A cycle that could potentially add many years to their lives while simultaneously providing them with a better quality of life
If you want your children to make healthier choices, you have to make the necessary adjustments at home first. Making these changes doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply take it one step at a time. If you are not ready to make a lot of drastic changes at once, then do it at the pace that is best for you. Set small, tangible goals and take it one day at a time. Below you will find a list of small steps that you can make, starting today, to get your child on a path the healthier eating.
5 Steps to Healthier Eating for Your Child
Get rid of the unhealthy foods (sweets, junk foods, sugary cereals, foods containing food dyes and artificial sugar, etc…) and replenish them with healthier items over the next few weeks. If the junk isn’t there, they can’t eat it. At least not while they’re at home.
Buy real food. This is so simple, but not as common as it should be. Get back to the basics and purchase real food items. These are foods in their most natural state (fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins). A good rule of thumb is to purchase most of your groceries on the outer edges of the grocery store, not the inner aisles.
Make breakfast their largest and healthiest meal. This way they aren’t so hungry as the day goes on and they’ve already consumed a large portion of the necessary nutrient intake for the day. This meal should include their largest portions of produce, whole grains and healthy proteins for the day (i.e. eggs, whole grain bagel and healthy smoothie).
Get your kids involved in the meal planning and meal prep process. They’re more likely to buy in and more likely to eat the meals that they helped plan and prepare.
Set a good example. Often times our kids do what they see us doing, so don’t be hypocritical. If you want them to make healthy eating choice, you have to set a good example for them to follow.