Children need to take a well-balanced diet because it’s rich in nutrients that facilitate growth and development. A good diet is rich in carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins. Parents need to train their children to embrace all food types from their early years.
The eating habits you appreciate in the home grow with the children into their teenage years and adulthood. Additionally, parents and caregivers can add supplements to compensate to ensure the children get all the required vitamins and minerals. Here are ideas and tips for training your child into healthy eating habits.
- Be adventurous with food items
Train your child’s taste buds to explore all flavors. Apart from sugar and salt, children should also learn the texture of different food items. It is usual for a child to try one food item up to 10 times before embracing it. Therefore, keep experimenting with other foods and repeat one type intermittently until they get used to it.
And while at it, cheer on the kid by praising and celebrating their achievements. Do not reprimand them when they spit out a new food type because they’ll associate it with shouting and sadness. You can mix their favorite food with the new item you want them to learn.
Depending on their age, make a shopping list for fruits and vegetables and other food items depending on their age. You can also take them with you and allow them to pick and place the items on the cart. Allow them to choose a new food item they’d like to try. Additionally, shopping is fun and exciting and makes them feel responsible.
- Play with colors
Play and food go together for children. The many colors of food you have on a child’s plate, the better and more varied the nutrients they contain. Fill your child’s plate with different colored fruits and vegetables.
You can play with color by:
- Write a list of fruits and vegetables, and then ask them to draw and color them appropriately. Once they’re done, allow them to select the ones they want to eat for the day. They should choose at least three colors to make it exciting. You can reward them with a matching color sticker to place on the fridge door or their food notebook. Celebrate their milestones and reward them with an extra sticker when they try a new taste.
- You can also bring your children to the garden and train them to care for the growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You can assign them a few plants to water, weed, fertilize and harvest. You can regularly check on the plants and allow them to eat what they’ve grown.
Additionally, you can ask them to draw the plant as they observe it in the garden. Further, teach them how to feed chicken and rabbits for protein. An all-inclusive approach to food and diet can help your child become responsible for their eating habits in the future.
- Hydrate your children
Children love water. They want to play, drink and stay longer in the bathtub. Teach your children to drink water by buying them a cool water bottle while eating and hydrating any time of the day.
You can make drinking water more exciting by squeezing an orange or adding mint to enrich the flavor. This tip is ideal for children who find it hard to take water. Make juices and other drinks a treat and not a must-have.
If your child is a poor feeder, make them smoothies from various fruits and vegetables. Juicing is a valuable habit because it contains the required nutrients and boosts energy levels. However, limit sugary fruits because they can spoil their teeth. Additionally, your children should learn to rely on water and not sugary drinks.
Parents can make it a habit to carry water when leaving for work. Consequently, the children will also insist on taking their water bottles to school or when going for sports activities. Further, you should train your child on the importance of water in the body in the simplest language they can understand.
For instance, your child can associate frequent water intake with enhanced bowel movement. You can also demonstrate the need for hydrating with a dry sponge. Pour water on the sponge and compare it to their body and what happens when they don’t hydrate. Gradually, they’ll associate headaches, muscle cramps, and lethargy with a lack of water. Consequently, they’ll drink water because they understand the importance.
- Eat breakfast
Teach your children the need to eat their breakfast. Do not allow them to start their daily routine without taking a balanced meal in the morning. Ensure there is protein, starch, and vitamin on their breakfast plate.
For instance, you can make cereal, a fruit and an egg, sausage or bacon for protein. Teach them that a good breakfast helps them boost their energy and keep them going through the day’s activities.
You can ask them to draw a balanced breakfast sample for the family. Involvement is ideal for teenagers who may want to skip the morning meal for flimsy reasons. However, training the adolescents to take charge makes them appreciate the need to take breakfast.
- Master your tummy
Parents often wonder if the child’s tummy is full or the child is lying about getting full. Parents risk over-feeding the young ones because they believe a child who says they’re full is avoiding the eating menace. Children have the inborn ability to stop eating once they’re full. You can learn your child’s natural regulating mechanism by asking them when they feel full. You can encourage your child to eat small portions regularly and stop when full.
Train your child to listen and master their tummies. With time, they’ll learn to serve appropriate servings. They’ll also learn to avoid junk food without an adult’s supervision.
Children grow with the habits they learn at home. Parents and caregivers should teach children healthy eating habits to help them take charge of their meals when they grow up and move out of the parent’s strict supervision.