While your child may have a sweet tooth or be drawn to foods that lack nutrition in the grocery store, their eating habits do not have to be unhealthy. Ultimately, you are the person who is in control of your child’s eating choices.
You control what you buy.
Your kitchen should be stocked with plenty of healthy foods for your children to eat. Cutting back on sweets or high-fat snacks and replacing them with choices like fruits and vegetables can help your child make a healthy choice when it comes time to have a snack. While your children should still get a say in what they eat to an extent, they will be making their choice from a healthy array of options.
Your children are naturally curious!
The ability to choose their snack allows them to explore this curiousity. By setting them on a healthy path and letting your children explore it for themselves, you are setting them up for success in the future! This self-directed learning will lead to better eating habits being formed earlier. Letting your children choose what to eat and also how much to put on their plates also helps them learn the importance of portion control.
You are letting your children discover for themselves what they like to eat. By providing healthy options, you ensure that what they like to eat isn’t only candy, chips, or cookies that lack nutritional value, but healthy foods too! You can even let them try picking something at the grocery store once a week to let them explore various food options.
Start your children young.
They develop their preferences for certain foods as early as infancy so get them eating healthy right out the gate! Let them experiment at home or in restaurants. By letting children choose what to eat you can help curb picky eating and teaching them the choices they should be making throughout their lives. Providing them with as much variety as possible in what they eat allows them to be open to different foods, and healthy foods too! If they’re still picky, you can always try mixing vegetables in with food they like. They won’t like everything, but you should encourage them to keep trying new foods rather than getting upset if they’re being picky.
Be a role model!
The easiest way to teach children to develop healthy habits is to show off your own healthy habits. Eat healthy foods with your children! Eat new foods with your children! They will see this as the norm and be motivated to eat healthy as well. Answer their questions about healthy eating or your own food choices. Keep their curiousity burning and teach them to be the healthy eaters you know they are!
Need some pointers?
- Talk to your children about taste buds and how they can change
- Let your children help prepare food, so they can learn more about it
- Discuss different characteristics of their food
- Encourage them to ask questions!