Last updated on August 22nd, 2021 at 11:07 pm
Kids are notoriously picky eaters. If you’re worried about getting your kids to eat a healthy diet, then you’re not alone. Many parents struggle with getting their children to eat healthy food. With so much junk food available these days, it’s easy to see why this is the case. Although it may feel like a mammoth undertaking, teaching your kids about nutrition and healthy food choices is possible. There are lots of things you can do at home to reframe your child’s understanding of food and encourage them to make better choices. Here are seven simple ways to start.
7 Ways to Teach Kids About Nutrition and Healthy Food Choices
Practice What You Preach
Although it can sometimes seem that you’re the last person in the world to inspire your kids, you are their primary influence. This means that they model a lot of their behavior on yours. This might be a scary thought–that’s why it’s important to practice what you preach. If you’re telling your kids to eat healthy food while you eat junk food in front of them, then it probably will not go over too well. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some junk food occasionally, just make sure you consume it away from your kids!
Hide & Reveal
If you want to introduce your children to healthy eating, it can be helpful to use a little trickery. Many kids are reluctant to eat healthy foods when they know what they are. Therefore, hiding them in their meals can be a good way to get them into their diet. The important thing to do though is to tell them once they’ve eaten it and enjoyed the meal. This reinforces the idea that healthy foods can be tasty, so they’ll be more likely to eat non-hidden healthy foods in the future.
Remove Restrictions From Healthy Snacks
Kids love to snack. Unfortunately, though, they mainly love to snack on the wrong things. One way to get them to eat more healthy snacks is to remove any restrictions that you have in place. For example, if you only allow your children to have a certain number of snacks per day, or only allow them snacks after a certain time, taking away those restrictions and making healthy snacks accessible and “limitless” can encourage them to reach for healthy options.
Plan a Food Tasting Lesson
A food tasting lesson can be an excellent way to educate your kids about nutrition. Having a variety of foods from different food groups spread out on the table and talking about their nutritional values can help your kids better understand nutrition. Teach them about things like the carbohydrates in bread, protein in salmon, and how certain fats are better than others. This is both fun and educational, the kids will love tasting the various foods.
Take Them Shopping
Taking your kids shopping for groceries can be a challenge. However, it’s essential if you’re looking to improve their understanding of healthy ingredients and how healthy meals come together. Allowing your children to have input and choose healthy ingredients to use can make them more likely to want to try them later. Kids like to feel like they are contributing and their voices are being heard. This means that taking them shopping and involving them in the preparation and cooking process can make them much more likely to try healthy meals. They’ll want to taste the fruits of their labor, so involve them as much as possible!
Teach Them About Feeling Full
Many adults have a questionable relationship with food. This is probably because previous generations focused on telling children to clean their plate and not waste food. This kind of attitude toward food can be detrimental and lead to adults who have a hard time knowing when they’re full. If this sounds familiar, it’s much more common than you’d think. Retraining your mind and body to understand when to stop eating isn’t easy. Therefore, instilling this in childhood often leads to healthier relationships with food in later life. Teach your children to listen to their bodies, and stop eating when they feel full. Although you may deal with a lot of waste, it will pay off in the long term.
Eating together is important for many reasons. It’s especially important if you want your children to learn more about nutrition and healthy food. As you introduce healthier foods into their diet, eating healthy meals in front of them at the dinner table is essential. Even if your kids are very fussy and will only eat junk food at the moment, seeing you eating healthy foods with them at the same table can spike curiosity. Encourage them to take a bite from your fork and see if they like what you’re eating. If your kids are a little younger, sometimes it helps to use reverse psychology by telling them they’re not allowed to try what you’re eating. You can then “give in,” and let them try it.
Looking for more ways to teach kids about nutrition? Check out these ideas for getting kids to enjoy a variety of healthy foods.