It isn’t that difficult a task…!
While it may seem like a task to make your child eat more healthy foods, it isn’t impossible. Tantrums and sob fests can be a common scene in most households as exasperated parents use every trick in the book to get their kids to eat what’s good for them. And with experts warning what children eat can lead to health problems when they’re adults, it is absolutely essential that you make your child follow a diet that is low on salt, sugar and saturated fat. Experts suggest simple tips that ensure your kids develop healthy eating habits…
Don’t let your children eat alone. Make mealtimes special by eating with your kids. And make sure that your own eating habits are something, which they can follow. If they see you slouched on sofas, eating junk food, they will most likely want to do the same. Eat together on the dining table and engage them in interesting conversation to remove monotony. Not only does this improve their social interacting skills, but it also instills a sense of routine in them.
Healthy food does not mean tasteless food. Experiment with cuisines and make dishes that look different and appealing. If your kids refuse to touch vegetables, blend them in soups or chop them up really fine. You could do the same to fruits by making tasty milkshakes, ice creams or smoothies.
Ensure that your child drinks enough water during the day. Kids tend to get dehydrated quicker than adults and need energy to keep them going.
Don’t worry if you have a fussy eater. The good news is that children’s tastes change as they grow up. Encourage them to eat foods they dislike by cooking them in different forms.
Proteins help one stay fuller for longer, which in turn makes unhealthy snacking lesser of a possibility. Give your child a small portion of lean meat at every other meal. Red meat is high in iron, one of the most important nutrients for growing-up children.
Give your kids oily fish (try salmon, tuna and sardines) once a week. A rich source of omega oils, they keep both the mind and heart healthy.
Healthy snacks in-between mealtimes include plain yogurt, brown bread vegetable sandwiches, fruits and nuts.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, not just for adults but children, too. No matter how early school starts, a hearty (and healthy) breakfast is an absolute must. This will keep them energetic during the day, focussed and also discourage them from unhealthy snacking. Fortified cereals are a good source of iron and B vitamins.
Two important minerals for kids and teen are calcium and iron, which give them strong teeth and bones, prevent anaemia, increase concentration and reduce lethargy. Dairy products, pulses, lean red meat and green vegetables are a must in their diets.
Encourage your child to help you in the kitchen. Make cooking and preparing dishes a fun and interesting experience, which your kids and you can enjoy together. Don’t get impatient if they’re messy. Rather, let them learn at their own pace.