Three Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating

Here's the deal: most kids gravitate toward sugar, salt and carbohydrates. It is what it is, and sometimes for parents it can feel like an uphill battle or a constant argument that ends in an ugly disagreement in the cookie aisle at the grocery store. Although this is a default situation for many families, it doesn't have to be like that. Setting some guidelines in your household will help keep your kids eating healthy and make everyone happier in general on those grocery store trips.

Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating

Start Early

It's never too early to encourage healthy eating. So many kid's food products these days are so tasty and so convenient, but so bad for you. Avoid buying foods early on that may be more convenient that will get your child hooked to a certain type of eating. Make a commitment from the time they're eating solid foods to wait on introducing certain sugars and foods so that they develop a palate specifically for foods that are great for them, namely fruits, veggies an whole grains. It'll be a lot easier on you and your child in the long haul to maintain a healthy habit rather than break an unhealthy one down in order to start from scratch.

Educate Your Child

Sometimes “because I said so” is okay, but not before you explain to your child why they need to eat healthy, or why they can't have cookies for dinner. To adults, it's common sense: cookies are not a nutritious dinner for a growing child. To children who don't know any better, it's more like, “cookies taste better than broccoli, and I don't understand why mom won't let me have it”. As they grow, consider their ages and explain appropriately why our bodies need good nutrients and why excess sugar and processed foods can be bad. Chances are if they're nore motivated by the what, they'll be more motivated by the why.     

Encourage Moderation and Set the Example

Whatever you do, do not forbid unhealthy foods. Like it or not, your child will encounter this decision for himself down the road, whether at a friends house or at school, and it will be his call, not yours. Forbidding sweets or unhealthy food will only peak your child's curiosity and encourage rebellion down the road. Rather, keep sweets in the house, but encourage moderation and good judgement. It's normal and natural to have a special treat during the day or every now and again. Explain that to your child, and show them how it's done by implementing the rule yourself. Don't cut it out all together, but control yourself. Set limits and guidelines for yourself as well as your kid, and follow them because your kid is watching you.

Healthy eating doesn't have to be a constant uphill battle. Encourage moderation, explain why healthy eating is important and start as early as you can, and you'll find that it's much easier on everyone.

[image]