Healthy EATING BENEFITS: TEACHING CHILDREN HOW TO MAKE BETTER FOOD CHOICES
Most physicians, nutritionists, and dietician will agree that a healthy, well-balanced diet is critical to a child's health and overall development, but convincing children to choose healthy foods over salty or sugar-laden snacks can be challenging for most parents. As with most things, children learn by observing the actions of others, especially their parents. One of the best ways to motivate your child to adopt healthy eating habits is by adopting them yourself and allowing them to follow your lead. That said, there are several more things that you can do to motivate your child to eat healthily.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED A HEALTHY DIET?
A healthy diet is one that helps you maintain or improve your overall health. It should provide the body with the right amount of fluids, micronutrients, macronutrients, and calories needed to function properly. With that in mind, let's take a look at how parents can get their children to eat a healthy diet. The first step toward improving your child's diet should entail creating a healthy eating plan for them to follow. This eating plan should consist of smaller portion sizes as well as a mix of lean meats, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
CREATING A REWARD PROGRAM
A great way to incentivize children to eat foods that they may not like is by adopting a reward program. For example, after they have eaten a healthy meal, you can reward them by allowing them to have a small portion of their favorite dessert. In the end, this represents a win-win for both you and your child. Additional steps that you, as a parent, can take to encourage your child to make better eating habits include
Guiding your child's food choices - Keeping more healthy foods and fewer junk foods in your home can help children make better food choices. It comes down to out of sight, out of mind, meaning they will be less likely to crave foods that they do not see in the home.
More water and less sugary drinks – Encouraging your child to drink more water and fewer sugary drinks not only keeps cavities at bay but also goes a long way toward helping them to either lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Setting healthy eating goals for the family – If your child believes that the entire family is on a path towards healthier eating, they will be more motivated to follow suit. After all, they won't want to feel left out. It may also be a good idea to allow your child to play an active role when it comes to grocery shopping and preparing meals. These activities provide children with a sense of accomplishment. And best of all, they are more likely to eat healthy food that they helped bring to the dinner table.