A couple of years ago, eating junk food was something people were proud of. Over the past few years, people are finally deciding to step up and adopt a healthier lifestyle. The gym or working out is slowly becoming part of everyday life. Green tea is the in thing now and tracking one’s meals has become the norm. As much as I love this new surge of healthy living, I am sad that it took most of us this long to get there. For most of us who started late, we are having to start from scratch. It is practically trying to detoxify the last couple of years out of our systems.
However, we can make sure that is not the case for our children. We need to inculcate the importance of keeping up a healthy diet without necessarily forcing it. So how can we do that?
Involve your children in selecting and cooking process
Children like to do things they think are done by grownups. Allowing your children to shop and cook with you makes them feel a little in control of their diet. Take this opportunity to teach them about different foods. Educate them on the reasons why some food is healthy and some are not. This way, they get to understand why certain foods are better than others. Truthfully, no child wants to eat what is not considered good for them.
Make food interesting
The thing is, most children picture healthy food and think boring old vegetables. It is up to you to change that misconception. Learn to play around with the food. Make your meals a little more exciting. Google different recipes on how to make various healthy meals. Your child needs to understand that eating healthy does not mean you live a boring life e.g. you can make sweet potato chips instead of serving them as you normally would.
You cannot just dump a whole plate of things you consider to be healthy for your child to eat just out of the blues. Children are likely to resist the change. Do not simply strip them of everything they love to eat. Gradually switch up the meals. Start by adding a few healthy options on the plate. You can also try and incorporate healthy options into their regular diet. e.g. making chicken salads, adding some vegetables in tortillas etc.
Eat by example
This is basically saying you should lead by example. You children do what you do. They try to emulate almost everything their parents do. So if you make healthier food choices, they are sure to follow suit. You do not even have to force it. It can begin by simply asking for a bite of your food. Over time they will ask to eat what you are eating and before you know it, they are in love with their new food choices.
Avoid eating out a lot
While it is healthy to go out with your children once in a while, you should limit the number of times you eat out. Not that there are no healthy options in restaurants but eating out can be tempting especially at the earlier stages of adapting the healthier lifestyle. Things can get very hard when you are scrolling down a menu and all you see is are sweet but unhealthy options.