Providing your children with proper nutrition is one of the most important tasks a parent can have. However, it is also not the easiest one.
Kids are often picky eaters and love to nibble on their food which tends to get on the nerves of many parents. Getting frustrated by your kids’ eating habits will be a thing of the past if you manage to implement these tips. Put a stop to these dinner-time battles.
Make one meal for the entire family
Some parents make one meal specifically for their children and then the other one for the adults of the family. Leading experts on nutrition believe that this is a mistake on the parents’ side. Kids who eat a separate meal from their parents’ are more likely to develop picky eating habits and refuse vegetables and other healthy food. In order to make your kids more receptible to healthy foods, you should offer them the same food you will have yourself, granted if that food is healthy. An example of a good meal for the entire family would be a portion of brown rice – the healthiest rice there is, served with some kind of oily fish such as salmon and a serving of veggies.
Don’t make comments on your kids’ choices
In order to cultivate a healthy relationship with food, you will need to be very careful as a parent. Don’t be an enforcer of rules, constantly screaming at them to eat their veggies. Research has shown that being authoritative at the dinner table can lead to the development of eating disorders, varying from binge to restrictive eating. So the best option would be to give your kids healthy foods and be neutral. Also, don’t label food as inherently good or bad – food is not morally coded.
Introduce your kids to the kitchen
Cooking is a fun activity! In order to make your kids more receptive to healthy meals, you should propose they try making them themselves! It can also become a very fun family bonding time. Although it is not recommended that kids work in the kitchen on their own, especially near the burning stove and sharp knives, there are some things they can help with. For example, they are able to grate cheese (though you need to have a stopper), stir the ingredients together or peel some vegetables. When they reach a certain age, they can also cut the veggies themself. Your kids will not only love to eat the food they’ve helped make, they will also gain a skill needed for healthy adulthood.
Be their role model
To be a successful parent, you need to lead by example. This means that the last thing you want to do is to be hypocritical in your approach to nutrition. For example, would you yourself take nutrition advice from someone who is preaching one thing but practicing the other. Imagine a nutritionist who is preaching veganism but gets caught with a chicken wing. Their credibility would go down the drain. The same mechanism is in practice when you preach healthy eating to your kids and scold them for every candy eaten, but eat that same candy yourself. Start from yourself and be a good example to your kids.
Veggies can be very tasty
A lot of parents have trouble with making vegetables taste good. The easy solution is to invest in a good recipe book which will help you bring your cooking skills to an enviable level. There’s no wonder that some kids refuse to eat vegetables their parents make, but the only thing that those parents can make are boiled vegetables with some salt added – if you’re lucky. Grill the veggies with some olive oil and minced garlic and your kids will devour them in no time.
Allow treats sometimes
No foods should be off limits for your kids – but they should be given it in moderation! There are also healthy alternatives to the usual treats. For example, you can make homemade ice cream out of frozen bananas and peanut butter, which is a much healthier option than the ready made stuff. Also, forbidden foods tend to be more appealing since they’re treated like a taboo, making it more likely your kids will overeat on them when they’re available or even hide that they’re eating them.