It’s not only important for adults to lead healthy lives but it’s extremely important for kids to lead healthy lives from an early age, especially with the rates of childhood obesity. This post is geared towards those who either have kids or work with kids and what you can do to help them learn how to make healthy choices on their own.
Have healthy foods ready to eat.
– I have noticed this to be true for myself as well. When I have healthy foods within reach, I will grab those to snack on as opposed to something like, ice cream or potato chips. If you don’t have these items in your house, then kids won’t be able to grab them to snack on.
Let kids learn by serving themselves.
– serve foods family-style
– teach them to take small amounts at first. Make sure to use smaller bowls and plates so they don’t take too much at first.
– tell them they can get more if they’re still hungry
Be patient – it works better than pressure.
– kids don’t always take to new foods right away. offer them many times and try serving them in different ways. It can sometimes take 10 or more times of seeing a food before kids will actually want to try it. It took me about 20 years before I wanted to try new foods.
– When offering a new food, let the kids choose how much to eat. They are more likely to enjoy a food when eating it is their own choice.
Let kids help in the kitchen.
– kids like to try foods they help make – it’s a great way to encourage new fruits and veggies
– Let them name their dish and make a big deal of serving foods they help create
Use encouraging words.
– as a parent, what you say has a big impact on kids’ eating habits
– gently guide your kids to make healthy choices with positive words
Lead by example.
– kids are always always always watching. If they see you grab a bag of potato chips to snack on instead of, say, an apple, they’re going to want to grab for the potato chips over an apple as well.
– Let your kids see you eat and enjoy many different healthy foods
– be open to trying new foods with your kids
– practice portion control
– eat meals at regular times, and try not to skip meals
– turn the TV and video games off at mealtime, and silence your cell phones
– join children at the table for meals
Change negative phrases into positive, helpful ones.
-avoid phrases that teach children to eat to win your approval such as
“eat that for me” or “if you do not eat one more bite, I will be mad”.
Instead, use phrases that will encourage kids to try new foods by connecting them to the senses.
Try, “this is kiwi fruit; it’s sweet like a strawberry” or “these radishes are very crunchy!”
– avoid phrases that teach children to ignore fullness to win approval such as
“you’re a big girl; you finished all your peas” or “you have to take one more bite before you leave the table”.
Instead, help children to recognize when they are full to prevent overeating.
Try, “is your stomach telling you that you’re full?” or “is your stomach still making its hungry growling noise?” or “has your tummy had enough?”
– avoid phrases that teach children to eat to feel better such as
“stop crying and I will give you a cookie.”
Instead, reward children with attention and kind words.
Try, “I am sorry you are sad. Come here and let me give you a big hug.”
-avoid phrases that imply children are wrong to refuse a food such as
“see, that didn’t taste so bad, did it?”
Instead, let children explore the taste of the food and form their own preferences.
Try, “do you like that?” or “which one is your favorite?” or “everybody likes different foods, don’t they?”
– avoid phrases that make some foods, like dessert, seem better than others, like vegetables such as
“no dessert until you eat your vegetables.”
Instead, let children make the choices about when to try new foods – they’ll be more likely to enjoy it when they do.
Try, “we can try these vegetables another time. Next time, would you like to try them raw instead of cooked?”
Make meal time fun for not only your kids, but for yourself as well!Don’t let it be the time of day that everybody dreads. Make it a positive experience 🙂