Having a healthy child requires creating a nutritional home, and this starts by making smart food choices, so as to guarantee the positive relationship developed with healthy food by your child. Through your examples, your children will always easily learn their food smarts.
How to Teach Your Child to Eat Healthy Food
According to Melinda Sothern, director of Louisiana State University’s The Childhood Obesity Prevention Laboratory, these are some of the tips for encouraging your child to always eat healthy food:
- You should not restrict food because doing that increases the risk your child developing the eating disorder like bulimia or anorexia later in life. In addition, this can negatively affect the growth and development of the child.
- As children always eat what is readily available to them, you should keep healthy food within their reach. Keeping fruit in a bowl where the child can reach it easily, and with that, you would be having a healthy child.
- You should not label your foods as “bad” or “good”, instead, you should tie foods to those things your child cares about, like appearance or sports. Let the child be aware that lean protein like calcium and turkey in dairy products gives strength, while the antioxidants present in vegetables and fruits add luster to the hair and skin.
- When you child makes a healthy choice, you should praise him or her as that is an encouragement that the act should be continued.
- You should not rebuke if your child makes a choice which is not healthy. Instead, for example, if the child wants fried, fatty food, you should redirect the choice. One idea is that instead of buying French fries, you should roast potato sticks in the oven (with little oil).
- Food should not be used as a reward because doing that creates weight problems in the future. Instead, your child should be rewarded with something fun and physical.
- You should have a tradition of sitting down to family dinners at night, as according to research, parents who eat dinners at the table with their children always have their children having better nutrition.
- Plates should be prepared in the kitchen, as that enables you to put healthy portions of each item on the dinner plate of everybody. It helps your children to learn recognizing correct portion sizes.
- Let you child have some control. For instance, the child could be asked to take 3 bites of each of the foods on their plate, giving a grade like A, B, C, D, or F. You should always serve healthy foods when they get high marks. Anything your child does not like should not always be offered, so as to encourage that child to take part in the process of making decisions.
- You should always consult your pediatrician before putting your child on a diet, trying to help that child to achieve certain health benefits, for instance reducing weight.
Teaching your child to have the right eating habit takes patience, according to experts. With the tips mentioned above, you should be able to have the results desired after some weeks or months.