Once kids develop comfortable routines, it is very difficult to change their minds. The same goes with their eating habits. For this reason, you need to keep unhealthy foods out of the house, and instead teach them about healthy eating habits. Below are 5 healthy eating habits you can teach your kids.
1. Encourage your kids to make smart eating choices in school
Half the time, your kids will be in class, and chances are, you do not know what they are eating while in school. The best way to make sure your kids develop healthy eating habits, is to pack their school bags with healthy homemade meals and snacks. Alternatively, you can go over the school lunch menu with your kids. Schools generally print out their monthly lunch menu. Sit with your kids, and challenge them to identify the healthiest options on the school’s lunch menu. When you do this regularly, your kids will naturally develop healthy eating habits.
2. Do not outcast junk food outright
Once kids get their first taste of junk food, they will always want more. If you want your kids to develop healthy eating habits, you will have to teach them to gradually let go of junk food. However, do not ban your kids from eating junk food. If you ban children from doing something, they will do exactly what they were banned from doing. Instead, limit their access to these junk foods. For example, feed them sweet treats only once a week, rather than everyday; that way, your kids’ desire for junk food will decrease over time.
3. Teach your kids about calories in drinks
Although kids may be aware of the amount of calories contained in unhealthy foods, they may not know that certain drinks are packed with empty calories that promote weight gain. For example, certain ice cream shakes sold by fast food restaurants, contain up to 900 calories (nearly half of the daily calorie intake suggested for most 9 to 13 year-old children).
To help your kids naturally avoid unhealthy beverages, have them drink enough water and plain milk. The more water and plain milk they drink, the less they will be attracted to sugary beverages. If you have to give your kids some juice, make sure that the juice is organic, and is 100% fruit-based. In addition, mix the juice with water.
4. Set a good example to your children
Your healthy eating habits will directly determine your kids’ eating habits. Eat healthy snacks with your kids as much as possible. Tell them about the benefits of eating vegetables. Encourage them to choose water instead of soda.
5. Keep a strict eating schedule
When you and your kids keep a regular eating schedule that seldom changes, it will prevent your kids from snacking on unhealthy foods throughout the day. Moreover, when kids have a strict eating schedule, they are rarely hungry between meals. When your kids skip a meal, do not allow them to eat candy or chocolate at the place of that meal. Instead, give them a healthy snack, such as an apple or a banana.
The sooner you teach your kids about healthy eating habits, the easier it will be for them to adapt to a healthy lifestyle. Rather than hiding unhealthy foods from your kids, teach them why these foods are not appropriate.