The media and the Internet often discuss the topic of food quality and balancing the diet of the youngest. No wonder. The obesity epidemic among children and teenagers is already a fact. Meanwhile, many diseases can be prevented by proper nutrition. So, how to start building good eating habits in children so that the kids avoid diet-related diseases in the future? Let’s try to figure it out.
Tips on Building Healthy Food Habits in Children
Below, you will find the tips that seem to be the most important for shaping your child’s healthy eating habits. Some seem quite obvious, but in the rush of everyday activities and the current pace of life, we forget about their great importance.
Remember about Diversity
The first two years of life are crucial in the development of later food preferences. For this reason, the time of expanding the diet is critical for shaping eating habits. Keep in mind that if your child is used to variety early on, he will accept other flavors more quickly later. The infant nutrition scheme also includes diversity and recommends that the diet of the youngest includes various groups of products such as cereals, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products, not forgetting that breast milk or organic European baby formulas adjusted to the baby’s age is the basis of nutrition in the first year of a baby’s life.
Be a Good Example
Your child’s main role model is you. If you avoid regular meals, eat on the go, eat in front of the TV, or with your cell phone in hand, it is likely that your child will unconsciously adopt these habits. Do not forget to drink enough water during the day and encourage your child to do so from an early age. The same applies to physical activity, an essential component of a healthy lifestyle.
Make Shared Meals a Ritual
Try to introduce fixed meal times, considering the lifestyle of all family members. It may be difficult, but it is a very important, if not the most important, element in raising children in terms of nutrition. At least, make sure that breakfast and/or dinner are shared meals. If you already have a predetermined time for at least one meal, make all family members aware of how necessary a part of your day it will be.
Involve your kid in preparing meals and setting the table together. Try to leave all electronic devices in other rooms so that this time is only for you and passes in a pleasant atmosphere.
Make Sure Your Meals Are Not Boring
We often think that preparing a fancy, colorful meal or a form of serving a dish is a real art, and it is beyond our reach. Nothing could be more wrong. The simplest sandwiches can be served on a plate in a million different ways. Your imagination is the only limit, and if you don’t have any ideas, check out the serving ideas on the Internet. Serving a sandwich or vegetables, fruit, and mushroom toppings for lunch in an interesting way will take you the same time as serving them in a traditional way, just change your point of view and see for yourself.
Give Your Family Easy Access to Healthy Snacks
Prepare a bowl with fresh, colorful, washed fruits and/or vegetables in an easily accessible place — on the table or kitchen counter. A jar of nuts and dried fruit mix will also work well. Place the dish close to the fridge, where we intuitively reach for a snack during the day.
Propose and Give a Choice, But Don’t Force
There may be times when your child refuses to eat certain foods. Perhaps he doesn’t like broccoli. But you can offer him cauliflower. Doesn’t he like tomatoes? Serve the peppers. Remember that even if your child doesn’t like something now, it doesn’t mean he won’t like it later. It is also possible that he will reach for a given product if it is given in a different form.
It is critical not to force the toddler to eat anything. Forcing a child to eat is a form of violence. In such a situation, it is difficult to build good habits and a positive relationship with food. We, the parents, choose when, what, and how we give the child, but it is the child who decides what exactly and how much he eats.