Concerned about what your child is (or not) eating, drinking, inhaling and feeling at loss? Join the club! To give your child the best gift you can – a happier and healthier lifetime – make nutrition accessible and, more importantly, fun for them.
By hook or by crook, get them addicted to eating and living healthy. Here are some tried and tested tips on how to make your child eat healthy in a generally unhealthy world.
Hot tip: Teach your child good food habits early on. Start as young as you can as this way they will keep them for a lifetime.
Be A Role Model
You have to set a good example. Practice healthy eating habits and getting regular exercise. This is imperative. Without this nothing else will work.
So first load up your own plate with greens and talk about how good it tastes. It will have a much bigger impact than giving them a lecture.
Don’t Dumb Their Palate
Don’t just decide that they would hate olives or shun garlic. Even kids as young as one year old can enjoy different flavours.
So if you keep dumping khichri on their plate, they’ll never learn new tastes.
Definitely avoid very spicy foods and funky things like blue cheese or leeks. But other than that, serve them the same food that the rest of the family is eating.
If your child is going through the phase of asking ‘why’ about everything (which trust us they will), use this to your advantage. They want to know ‘why eating broccoli is good for them but eating burgers a bad idea?'
Great! Be sure that you know the answer and explain the reasoning to them. “Don’t ever say “Because I said so or that’s how it is...” This is not a valid reason for children, and will not work at all! And you would have lost an opportunity to sell something healthy to your child.
5 Tips to Make Your Food Healthier
Make Them Fruit/Veggie Babies
Always offer at least one fruit and vegetable with every meal or as snacks, so that as they grow up, it becomes second nature for them to eat fruit and vegetables through the day.
Try this trick. Place veggies on the table first, when your child is the hungriest. They've wolfed them down by the time the rest of the meal arrives.
If in the beginning, they turn up their nose on the veggies you serve on the side, try integrating them in the main dishes. Make veggie based pasta sauces, put them in noodles, and layer them with rice. Sneak in health (like I said by hook or by crook).
Take Them Shopping
Grocery stores are superb places to teach your children about good nutrition. Children learn best when they are a part of the process and can make choices for themselves.
Try this trick. Give them the choice of which vegetables to buy for the next night's dinner and see them eat it well when it reaches their plate.
Cook Up Some Fun
‘I hate this food', 'this tastes really weird’. Familiar?
Most parents hear these strong words at meal times. An interesting solution is to cook with them the foods they turn up their noses at. Kids are more likely to eat it if they help fix it.
Start simple. You don’t have to wait till kids are old enough to fix the entire meal. Even younger children can help with simple steps like washing, pouring, mixing, spreading, etc.
Assign a night. Let each family member pick a night of the week to plan and help prepare the meal. Not only will you both have fun, it’ll make them more appreciative of what’s served at the table henceforth.
Try These Fun, Healthy, & Easy Recipes With Them
Healthy carrot fries- Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C and line a shallow pan with foil. Peel a few carrots, cut off the tip, and cut them into long half inch strips.
Next, combine the carrot sticks, a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary to taste and stir until they are evenly coated and spread the carrots over the pan. Bake your carrots for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
Sandwich on a stick- Cut up cubes of ham, bread, cheese, apple, lettuce, and halve the olives. Slide them all on the skewer. And give them a dip of mayo or mustard or tomato ketchup. They’ll love this.