Many of us may be of the opinion that “Children and Healthy Food” don’t go together. Well, it may be true to some extent but in a more significant way we as adults play a great role here and can make a huge difference in a child’s eating habits not only for the present and but also for the future, empowering him/her to make intrinsically motivated choices. Let’s see how you can make your child eat healthy food but also choose healthy food.
For a child to eat healthy food, let’s consider the following:
- Food should be tasty and nicely presented (A smiley with tomato sauce or chocolate sauce or a face with dry fruits will definitely encourage them to eat the meal).
- Eating should be a pleasurable activity with family members or at least one adult sitting with the child and eating. Discourage eating in front of the TV and gadgets as they take away the sensory experience of food.
- The quantity of food is also very significant. Research shows that eating small meals at regular intervals is more beneficial than eating a huge meal at one time. Therefore, let’s try to keep their quantity limited and achievable to finish. This will have a positive impact on them. Children will feel delighted to see a little less quantity and become confident in finishing it.
- When offering a new food, say, “Let’s try and see if you like it!” versus forcing them to eat. Do respect the child’s choice if it’s negative.
- Talk to them about the simple benefits that each food might offer. Example, “Carrots are so good for your eyes.” Even 3 to 4-year-olds will understand this.
- Encourage children to help you in preparing meals or in doing the non-fire cooking. This will not only enhance their creative, analytical, mathematical and culinary skills but will help them in eating their preparations too.
Also, read – 5 non-heat cooking recipes for kids
For a child to choose healthy food over junk, let’s consider the following:
- The parents or adults in the house should choose healthy over junk to “Role Model” before the child.
- The pantry in the house should have fewer junk options.
- Fruits to be kept on the dining table and to be accessible to kids.
- Taking children for grocery shopping and encouraging them to touch and smell different fruits and vegetables will enhance their interest in healthy foods.
- Always appreciate their healthy choices.
- Once in a while, they should be allowed to eat junk food too but in limited quantity.
- You can give them healthier versions of their favorite foods by baking instead of frying or dipping a fresh fruit in a little chocolate sauce versus giving them candies.
Do Remember: Every new generation is always smarter than the previous one, so your children already have the intelligence to make the right choices. They just need a little guidance.
Hope these tips were helpful for parents and can help kids to choose healthy food. If you have any more suggestions, do let me know in the comments.
Read – All nutrition related posts here.
About the author-
This article is written by Stuti Mehrotra. She is a passionate educationist who has a rich experience of working with kids. She has been a teacher, trainer and an educator before being an entrepreneur and running her own preschool called Linden Montessori in Bengaluru.
She highly believes in the Montessori Philosophy of believing greatly in children and allowing them to make their own choices and take certain risks within limits to help them in achieving their real potential as being over-protective with children makes them lose out on a number of learning opportunities. She is founder and director of Linden Montessori.
July 18, 2018 at 5:28 pm
Superb article Stuti. You are a powerhouse of talent each layer unfolding from time to time. It is so enriching to read your thoughts.
July 21, 2018 at 3:17 pm
Valuable pointers. At our end, we are grateful for son’s first school which had some stringent lunch box rules. It set the tone for eating healthy and variety for A and we followed it at home too. So, eating healthy food was instilled in our child pretty early on. Yes, we must allow them to eat junk once in a while too 😀
July 21, 2018 at 3:46 pm
That’s great. Kids listen more to their teachers than parents. Good, he learnt about healthy food in school. Thanks for reading.
July 22, 2018 at 6:05 pm
If only life were so easy. My grandchildren only eat what they want and if they eat what I want them to it is only by coercion and threats….. Frankly they prefer simple daal chawal and nothing on earth will persuade them to eat in a restaurant healthy or otherwise.
July 25, 2018 at 4:25 pm
My kid only eats his food when he gets to watch YouTube videos. Animations and children songs. It serves as a distraction as we stuff him with food. However when we have our meals, he is real upbeat to taste our recipes. That’s probably out of curiosity.
July 25, 2018 at 8:27 pm
healthy foods suggestion for kids nice sharing
July 26, 2018 at 12:18 pm
Stuti, these are such helpful bits.
It’s very important to direct our kids to healthy eating habits as early as possible trying creative ideas. And like you mentioned, taking them for grocery shopping teaches them a lot about purchasing healthy food, essentially fruits & vegetables. I practice & stick to all your pointers for my kid & she has been appreciating the right choices we make in the food department.
July 26, 2018 at 2:28 pm
Excellent pointers for every mother struggling to feed her kids. It’s actually a challenge everyday. Though, I am following a few mentioned tips, will try the rest too. I have noticed they eat well in school but throw tantrums at home.
July 28, 2018 at 2:42 am
I agree with all points and in fact, I had followed so many with my girls too. developing healthy eating habits is a hard task and no doubt it requires a creativity and hardwork. great post indeed.