10 Ways to Help Children Eat Healthy
We all want what’s best for our kids, and one area we can be most concerned about is their health. If you’ve ever struggled with thinking of ways to get your children to eat healthy, here are 10 ways to help children develop healthy eating habits.
- Introduce greens early. Food preferences are developed early so this is the best time to offer a variety of options, including vegetables.
- Avoid using food as a reward. Kids shouldn’t see food as a reward and as a means for affection. It’s better to give them attention, praises and hugs.
- Stick to a schedule. A daily meal schedule gives your child a stable and healthy diet without leaving them cranky or hungry or craving for junk food.
- Make meal planning your new best friend. Planning exactly what children will eat ahead of time helps you stay prepared and avoid last minute stops for fast food. Also, a good meal doesn’t have to be over the top. It just has to be balanced. Whole-grain bread, rice, pasta, vegetables and a protein source, such as lean meat or beans, can hit the spot and do wonders.
- Ease in new food slowly. Keep in mind that children may be fickle with their food and may need a few more tries before they can adjust. Don’t overwhelm them with the entire meal. Instead, offer a few bites here and there.
- Make it a dip party. Masking vegetables in delicious - and nutritious - dips are a great way to get them to enjoy their greens.
- Introduce soy. Soy milk is a great source of healthy phytochemicals and heart-healthy protein. Adding it to food, such as cereal is a great way to give your kids their daily dose of soy.
- Make it fun. The more creative the meal is, the more appealing it can be for your children. The next time you’re having broccoli, why not try to make them into trees that line your mashed potato lake?
- Set a good example. Children oftentimes mimic their parents and the people around them. By showing your kids you value nutrition and enjoy eating vegetables, fruits and have a healthy diet, your kids are most likely to follow suit.
- Try nutrition counseling. Nutrition counseling is a personalized program between you and a trained counselor to evaluate your child’s diet. The goal is to identify the individual nutrition needs of your child and discuss ways to meet those needs. A nutritionist will educate you and guide you through the entire process.
No matter your child’s age, it’s never too late to introduce them to a healthy diet. If you have any questions about keeping your child healthy, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with your doctor for additional support.
Harvard Health Publishing