10 Ways to Build Healthy Eating Habits in Kids
Creating that environment where kids can make healthy nutritional choices is one of the most important steps to ensure the health of a child. By fostering a supportive environment, a positive relationship can be developed with healthy food. Following are a few tips that will help you in getting your kids to eat healthily.
- Avoid placing restrictions on food
Eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia are developed when foods are restricted. It can also have a negative effect on growth and development. Talk about all the healthy, nutritional options instead of banning the food items. Encourage your child to choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy while avoiding heavily processed, low-quality junk foods.
- Keep healthy food at hand
Children will eat what’s available. Keep fruit in a bowl on the counter, not in the fridge. A child can only choose foods that are available in the house.
- Don’t label foods as “good” or “bad”
Don’t classify the foods in good and bad categories. Let the child know that lean protein such as turkey and calcium in dairy products give them strength. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables make the skin and hair shiny and eating a healthy breakfast can help them keep focus in class.
- Praise healthy choices
Appreciate your child with proud smile and praise when they choose healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or low-fat dairy.
- Don’t nag about unhealthy choices
When children choose fatty, fried, unhealthy foods suggest the healthier option. Instead of regular potato chips and dip, offer baked vegetable rolls. If the child wants candy, ask them to try dipping fresh strawberries in a little chocolate sauce. Instead of buying French fries, ask them for roasting cut up potatoes in the oven (tossed in just a bit of oil).
- Never use food as a reward
This could create weight problems in later life. Reward the child with a fun trip to the park.
- Sit down to family dinners at night
It is seen that children who have their dinner with their parents have better nutrition. So sit together and have dinner.
- Prepare plates in the kitchen
Keep the right portion of each item on dinner plates. This way children will learn to recognize healthy portion sizes plates.
- Give the kids some control
If a child eats healthy foods especially certain vegetables and fruits give him/her high marks. Offer those items which children don’t like frequently. It will enhance the children to participate in decision making.
- Consult your paediatrician
Always consult with the doctor before putting the child on a weight, trying to help your child gain weight, or making any changes in the type of foods which child eats. Never diagnose the child as too fat or too thin by yourself.
For Personalised Health and Weight Management Plans for Kids, you can always call Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth at 011-46666000. You can also chat with our experts here.