As a parent, it’s your responsibility to be a good role model for your kids when it comes to the foods you eat. Eating healthy is essential at every age. For adults, nutritious foods can be their source of energy, as well as strengthen their systems to fight off health issues and reduce their risk of severe diseases. For children, following a healthy diet will boost their growth and development. But, as necessary as this may sound, teaching healthy eating habits isn’t always a walk in the park.
Sometimes, it can be challenging to encourage your kids to eat greens, especially if they constantly crave junk foods and other unhealthy food choices. But the thing is that no one else is in control of your kids’ food intake other than you. You’re the only one who gets to control which food items to buy, cook and serve to them. So, it’s up to you to encourage healthy eating habits by doing it first with yourself.
To begin, here are some ways you can eat better for yourself and your kids:
1. Cook More Meals At Home
Choosing to prepare and cook your meals at home will make it more possible for you to control your family’s food choices. Constantly buying and taking out meals from restaurants and fast-food chains can expose you and your kids to unhealthy ingredients. Moreover, the more you purchase takeout meals, the more you’re exposing your kids to unhealthy food cravings. Remember that no one is born with cravings for pizzas or fries. Most of these cravings come from their exposure to movies or the media.
So, to combat their possibility of craving unhealthy foods, make it a habit to cook more meals at home. You may also check out here for more ideas on fighting off cravings and leading healthier eating habits.
2. Only Eat At The Dining Table
Perhaps, you may have already tried grabbing a snack from the fridge and bringing it to the living room to watch the TV. Later on, it becomes a habit, until you start bringing your breakfast or dinner to the living room and eat while in front of the TV. As harmless as this may be, eating away from the dining table can only lead to unhealthy eating habits.
When you and your kids make it a habit to eat while watching TV, you’re unconsciously eating too much or too little food, which can affect your weight and nutrition intake. This may lead you to mindlessly eat more food than you intended, or, perhaps, you unconsciously grab an unhealthy snack while being fixated on the TV.
In order to eat better and more mindfully, make sure you and everyone else in the family practice healthy eating at the dining table. Moreover, make sure no one brings their cellphone or laptop to the table until mealtime is over. Staying seated at the dining table reduces distraction, promotes mindful eating, and improves your eating posture.
3. Quit The Clean-Plate Scheme
It’s common for some parents to try and force their kids to clean their plates to ensure no food goes to waste. Although you may have good intentions in implementing this scheme with your kids, this approach can discourage your kids from listening to their bodies. Instead of listening to their feelings of fullness, they may choose to overeat and finish the whole plate, eventually leading to overeating.
So, as much as possible, let your kids stop eating when they feel that they’re full. If you don’t want any food to go to waste, it’d be best to serve them with smaller portions and encourage them to refill their plates when they need to. It’s also ideal for parents to practice this to show their kids the importance of listening to their bodies and avoiding overeating.
4. Avoid Using Foods As Rewards
It’s normal to use the reward system for your children as this motivates them to finish tasks and responsibilities in the house. However, make sure that you’re not using foods as rewards. Doing so might teach your kids to overeat or grab unhealthy foods as a way to cope with stress and other negative emotions.
Instead of food, you can find better ways to reward your kids, such as buying them new toys, offering them hugs or attention, taking them for a road trip, or allowing them to visit a neighbor or a friend’s house.
5. Fill The Fridge
As mentioned, parents are the only people in control of which food to buy and serve their children. So, stay in charge and fill your fridge with nutritious foods and ready-to-go healthy snacks. You can keep a container full of sliced carrots, celery, apples, and oranges. After all, your kids will eat whatever they can grab from the fridge and the food cupboard.
If they say they’re hungry, let your kids have the freedom to choose the food they wish to eat from the fridge and cupboard. This way, you’re giving them freedom with the food they want to eat, while, at the same time, encouraging them to only choose healthy foods.
The key to eating better for yourself and your kids is simply to start healthy eating habits. Kids learn best when they see it from their role models, which are their parents. So, remember these tips and encourage yourself and your kids to eat right, without turning mealtimes into battle zones.
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