Let’s face it, in this hectic day and time, convenience can often win out over health. But switching to a healthy diet can have a profound effect on children’s physical health AND on their mental and emotional wellbeing. To encourage healthy eating habits, the challenge is to make nutritious choices appealing. Here are a few tips and tricks to do just that.
Focus on overall diet rather than specific foods. Kids should be eating more whole, minimally processed food – food that is as close to its natural form as possible – and less packaged and processed food.
Be a role model. The childhood impulse to imitate is strong so don’t ask your child to eat vegetables while you gorge on potato chips.
Disguise the taste of healthier foods. Add vegetables to a beef stew, for example, or mash carrots up with mashed potatoes, or add a sweet dip to slices of apple.
Cook more meals at home. Restaurant and takeout meals have more added sugar and unhealthy fat so cooking at home can have a huge impact on your kids’ health.
Get kids involved in shopping for groceries and preparing meals. You can teach them about different foods and how to read food labels.
Make healthy snacks available. Keep plenty of fruit, vegetables, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice) on hand so kids avoid unhealthy snacks like soda, chips, and cookies.
Limit portion sizes. Don’t insist your child cleans the plate, and never use food as a reward or bribe.
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