Good eating habits for your child.

Healthy food habits have critical effect on children’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It helps them stabilize their energy, maintain healthy weight, sharpen their minds, keep the health problems away and calm their moods. It gives children the opportunity to grow into healthy & confident adults. Conditions like ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is also prevented with healthy diet. Children with mental problem can manage the disease’s symptoms and regain control of their health with healthy food habits.

Parents should teach their children healthy eating habits, and also practice the same habits in themselves. Children are not born with cravings of pizza or other fast-food snacks. They found these unhealthy foods attractive because they see how their parents and others are happy to have them. It is parent’s responsibility to reprogram their children’s food habits into a healthier one. The sooner you will start working on their food habits the faster they will adopt it. Parent should encourage their children to evaluate their food choice and habits. Further steps will show you how:

  • Eat together as a family, let your children see you trying different foods which are healthy; they will learn their food habits from you so choose your food wisely.
  • Keep a spoon near your child and demonstrate how to eat with a spoon. By practicing this, they soon start eating by themselves. Let them spoil around; eating with their own hands will create a sense of self responsibility.
  • Make mealtime the time of positive conversation and avoid battles over the food.
  • Provide a variety of healthy food to your children. It will teach them how to make healthy food choices.
  • Don’t expect your children to eat as much as you, they will eat according to their body sizes and will let you know when they are full.
  • Fix a daily routine and serve the food on a fixed time, like this they will feel hungry at the meal time and will have their part of the meal without showing tantrums.
  • Teach them to wash their own plates after the meal, it teaches them to be disciplined and responsible.
  • Advice them to eat slowly, children can know they are hungry or full better when they eat slowly.
  • Make the meal time fun; you can garnish the food into different shapes like broccoli as trees, cauliflower as clouds, and carrot as sun.
  • Serve them a heavy breakfast; teach them that it is the most important meal of the day.
  • Avoid eating meals while watching TV, it leads to excessive eating and snacking and results in obesity. Eat only in designated areas like dining room.
  • Don’t allow any cold items in ‘dessert’ after the meal like ice cream, soda etc, it blocks the digestive enzymes from releasing in stomach and disturbs the digestion process.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar sweetened drinks and salt in your child’s diet.
  • Encourage them to drink more water.
  • Say no to processed food. They contain artificial flavouring and cancer causing ingredients. Choose real food like fruits.
  • Avoid junk food like pizza, burger, tomato sauce etc, as they are high on calories and low on
  • Outside food have more added sugar and unhealthy fat so cook your meals at home.
  • If parents are not aware about healthy foods themselves, they should consult a good registered nutrition dietician.

If bad eating habits becomes comfortable routines, they can be hard to change, but by following the above points and by being patient; you can teach your children good eating habits. Don’t be discouraged if your children turn away the healthy food you give them. As it can take up to a dozen tries for a child to decide they like a certain food.

“If you want your child to develop healthy eating habits, you should eat healthy yourself and try to set the best example for them.”