Today’s hectic way of life affects our everyday habits and that includes the way we eat. Many people complain that they don’t have enough time to prepare healthy meals, so they resort to fast food and takeaways as these are the most convenient options during a busy week. But this convenience has its downsides – in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, as well as over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19, were overweight. These stats illustrate how important it is for you to switch to a healthy eating routine and make sure that your kids pick up some good habits too.
Have one family meal a day
One of the best ways to instill healthy eating habits in your kids is to find time to have one family meal a day, preferably dinner. This way you’ll be able to talk to your kids about how their day was and spend some quality time together. So, instead of grabbing a quick bite and eating pizza, hamburgers, or similar food packed with carbs, your family can enjoy a delicious, home-cooked meal full of nutrients. By making this time enjoyable, you’ll help your kids develop positive associations with healthy foods, and prevent them from reaching out to unhealthy comfort food whenever they feel down.
Limit screen time
Ask your kids not to use their electronic devices during meals. According to a study, parents who let their kids use their smartphones or tablets while they’re having a meal, serve up less fresh fruits and vegetables and more sugary beverages. Moreover, such families tend to have poor communication because of these distractions, and they tend to eat 10% more food at one sitting than they would if they didn’t use their cell phones. In addition to this, kids usually get the munchies while they’re watching TV or playing computer games, so it’s a much better alternative to replace their chips and candy bars with delicious healthy snacks and control their sugar intake.
Try new foods
If you avoid certain foods, your kids will copy the pattern and become picky eaters. So, it’s a good idea to encourage their adventurous spirit and prompt them to try out new veggies and fruits every once in a while. One of the best tactics to get your kids to eat healthy food is to put them in charge of their food choices and allow them to choose vegetables they want as they’ll be more likely to eat them.
Allow your kids to help you prep meals
Yes, it will get messy, and your kitchen won’t be squeaky clean, but if you want to promote eating healthy food, include your kids in the preparation. This is an excellent motivating mechanism, as a study has shown that kids who participated in the process ate 76% more salad and 27% more chicken. To get the best results, assign tasks depending on your kids’ age and skills. Apart from this, you can also involve them in meal planning and grocery shopping, as kids eat better when they have at least a small role in the decision-making process.
Cleaning your plate isn’t a must
It’s wrong to force your kids to eat until their plates are clean because that way you’ll push them towards overeating. Teach them to listen to their body and stop eating when they’re full. The best way to do this is to set an example. If you notice that your kids don’t eat enough, tell them that there won’t be another meal for another two or three hours, so that they can make sure that they won’t be hungry in the meantime.
These simple tips don’t require too much time and energy, and they’re great for establishing healthy eating habits.
About the Author
Zara Lewis is a writer and a full-time animal lover. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she is a mum of two, raising them inseparably from their furry family members.