Kids will be kids right? And there’s no way you’re going to change the way they eat. If you don’t give them the foods they want, they won’t eat at all, so you better just give them what they want; at least they’re eating something. Does this conversation sound familiar to you? Although you may feel that giving your child any kind of food is better than no food at all you are sadly mistaken. Developing healthy eating habits and helping your child make wise food choices is extremely important. Kids don’t naturally know what’s good and what’s not, so it’s your to teach and educate them so that they will learn how to make wise food choices. But how do you do it? There are several different things you can do as a parent to encourage your child to make wise and healthy food choices.
1.Don’t try to dictate your family’s food choices. Instead, guide them by using a variety of different but healthy food choices. You don’t have to just do this will meal time either; when you buy snacks take your kids with you so they can choose what they want. This way, you can guide them in making wise food choices for snacks and meals.
2.Teach your children about the food pyramid and the “5 a day” rule. In order to make healthy and wise food choices, children need to understand what food can do for their body and what it can take away if selected unwisely. Teach them how many fruits and vegetables they need, milk and meat products, breads and cereals, and even a small treat. Teach them to make wise food choices by picking something from every food group they like.
3.Moderation is the key to a nutritious diet and healthy living. It’s great to teach your children about what kinds of foods are healthy and which ones are not, but it won’t do a lot of good for them if they eat way too much of something. Teaching children moderation in all things, especially wise food choices will help them when they’re not at home. They will understand how much their body needs and when they’ve over done it.
4.Plan to have several small snacks throughout the day with set snacking times. Continuous snacking can lead to overeating and unhealthy food choices, so set specific snack times for your child. Most children like to choose their own snacks, but don’t know how to make a wise food choice. Instead of letting them rummage through the pantry, take a few different healthy snack choices out and let them choose from what you pre-selected. That way you know that they are eating something healthy, but they still get to choose which one they want.
5.In helping your child make wise food choices you might have to go through your pantry and clear out everything that does not support a healthy lifestyle plan. After all, how can you expect your child to go make wise food choices when he opens the cupboard and sees cookies and fruit snacks? You might laugh, but some parents expect that; they tell them to go find a snack and expect them to dig way deep and find the wheat things at the back of the cupboard. Honestly, would you pick the wheat things if there was all the good stuff in front of it? I certainly wouldn’t? So don’t expect your child to. Encourage them to help you clean out the cupboard and teach them why you’re getting rid of stuff.
6.In living a healthy life and encouraging nutrition, you need to stress the importance of drinking plenty of liquids. Get rid of all the soda pop and replace it with bottled water and milk. Both provide your body with the much needed calcium and nutrients. Juice has a lot of sugar in it, but is a much better for your body than pop.
Helping your child make wise food choices begins with you. It begins with an effort to buy healthy foods and in letting your children help you in your search. It begins by cleaning out all the junk, and replacing it with other things. It begins with the food pyramid, giving choices, and teaching them how to make wise food choices. If they don’t learn good habits from you, they’ll learn bad ones form someone else.