If we teach our kids to eat healthy right from the start, they are more likely to make healthy choices as adults. Here are a few ideas to help.
Get them involved
Involve your children in the planning of meals, grocery shopping, and food preparation so that they are invested in the process and more likely to eat the healthy food you put in front of them. Even toddlers can be involved in the choosing of fruits and vegetables.
Teach them where their food comes from
Springfield’s Old Capitol Farmers Market returns to Adams St next month and provides the opportunity to not only get outdoors in the sunshine but to introduce your children to the people that grow and harvest the food. Picking berries from the vine or fruit from the tree can help nurture your child’s relationship with healthy food. Planting your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs too is a great way to show youngsters where food comes from and the work involved, plus the excitement of harvesting your own crop.
Make sure your children have access to healthy snacks at home, school, and whenever you’re out and about. For smaller children, soft berries, avocado, and or bananas are a good option and for older children carrot sticks, raisins, or nuts make a healthy snack.
Choice is key
Instead of offering a chopped salad with your meal place salad items in bowls so that the children can create their own combination of vegetables, cheeses, and/or cold meats on their plate or in a bowl. If you’re brunching, let them contribute when making decisions about the type of eggs you’re going to have; boiled, scrambled, or poached, for example. There are lots of ways to add variety and choice without adding too much extra to your workload.
If you’re having trouble getting your children to eat certain fruits or veggies, or enough of the daily requirement, try introducing these fruits or vegetables in smoothies, which are not only delicious, and nutritional, but cool and refreshing as the weather starts to heat up.
Be a good role model
Encourage your children to eat healthily by making healthy food choices yourself; setting an example is key.
At times you may feel frustrated when your toddler enjoys something one week and not the next but give them time and reintroduce it again later on.
Make it fun
Make sure mealtimes are fun and that your children have plenty of time to try the food you put in front them.