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.
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.