By Tracey Clayton of High Style Life
Can you count the times your kids have pushed away a plate full of vegetables with a “yucky” expression on their faces? We have news for you: you are not the only parent facing this problem. In fact, it is highly likely your mother had a couple of similar situations with you. The easiest thing to do would be to let your children eat sweets, burgers, and everything else they want, but parenthood is not easy. Your priority is to keep them healthy, so you will need to use all the tricks in the book to get them to eat food that is good for them. Here are a few foolproof tricks.
Set a good example.
Pizza for you and a plate of steamed broccoli for your kids? Don’t think so. Your kids look up to you and imitate your behaviors. If you want them to eat healthy, you have to show them a good example with your own healthy habits. Eat whatever you serve them and be physically active.
Have a meal timetable.
Healthy eating is not only about the food choices, it is also about when you are eating. A fixed mealtime schedule will prevent overeating, food cravings and appetite spikes. This timetable should include everything from breakfast, lunch and dinner, to in-between the meals snacks.
Eliminate the bad food.
Some foods are simply bad for your kids and yourself. Unfortunately, those are usually the foods the kids adore, such as burgers, pizzas and other fast food delights. Make sure you eliminate the junk food from the menu altogether, or at least reduce it to a minimum. If nothing else works, try making healthier alternatives (e.g. cauliflower crust pizza).
Take it one step at a time.
So, you’ve decided you want to motivate your kids to eat vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods? You can’t just throw everything on their plate in one week, because once they hate one thing, they will reject it forever. Take it one step at a time, and introduce one new ingredient each week.
Keep the food fresh.
If there is one thing kids can instantly fall in love with when it comes to fruits and veggies, it is the richness of colors. Unfortunately, people rarely have the time to visit the farmers’ market each day. That’s why you need to store the food in the appropriate containers or bags, and in a good refrigerator. Appliances such as the praiseworthy Maytag refrigerators are ideal for that because they keep the food fresh and have plenty of compartments for separating the groceries.
Allow them to participate.
Kids love getting their hands dirty; instead of doing that outside with sand, earth and mud, they can work with you in the kitchen with flour, tomatoes and other ingredients. By participating in meal preparation, children can grow fond of healthy food. Besides, this is an excellent opportunity to teach them why some food is good for them (e.g. “carrots are good for your eyes, broccoli can save you from having a cold…”).
Work on your presentation.
As most of us, kids are visual beings, and if something doesn’t look good to them, they think it doesn’t taste good either. How you arrange the plate makes a huge difference in whether they will accept the meal that is offered to them. Think about plating at least three different colors and arranging the food in a fun manner (e.g. bananas and kiwi can form a palm tree; pear and grapes can become a peacock…).
Give praise when praise is due.
You should be careful about rewarding your kids with candy or fast food for eating healthy. Making healthy diet choices shouldn’t be considered a chore, or a task that needs to be paid for. In fact, it is its own reward. Still, you can commend their healthy habits, tell them they are doing well and that you are proud of them.
These tips should help you instill some great eating habits in your children. The things they learn now will stay with them throughout their lives, and you can be sure you have done a good job when it comes to their health.
About the author:
Tracey Clayton is a passionate writer, online article editor and a mom to three girls. In her spare time, she likes to do research, and write articles to create awareness regarding healthy lifestyle.