If you’re a parent, you know that your kids are inundated daily with marketing for all sorts of prepackaged foods and fast food restaurants. It can be a battle every day to encourage them to eat healthy, fresh foods especially if your family is just beginning its journey to eat healthier and become more active.
Many times we feel like giving in because the battle seems not to be worth it. But it is definitely worth the effort and we’d like to give you a few tips on how to make encouraging healthy eating less of a challenge.
Be a good role model!
If you’re part of our 90/10 Nutrition family, it’s likely that you’ve already got this one down pat. Children imitate their parents. If they see you eating fast food or sugary, pre-packaged food regularly they will want to do the same. Similarly, if they see you eating veggies with hummus or fresh fruit as a snack or if they see you grilling a lean protein to eat with your side of vegetables, they are more likely to want to eat what you eat.
Kids are amazingly good at remembering what you have let slide in the past. They are also creatures of habit. If you want them to eat healthy food, it’s important to make sure you’re offering healthy options at every meal and snack time. Even if they argue with you about the choices that you’re offering to them, consistent encouragement and not backing down are critical in solidifying their openness to try new things. It’s amazing how many kids swear they won’t like something but once they try it, they decide that it’s delicious.
This is not the time for bribery. Bribery has been shown to foster negative relationships with food. If you’re telling your child that they can’t leave the table until they’ve eaten all of their broccoli, they are never going to think positively about broccoli. Instead make trying new things a positive experience. Make a game out of trying a few bites of a new food and don’t pressure your child to love everything you put in front of them. Even as adults there are certain foods we like more than others so remember the same applies to your little one.
Be Willing to Let Them Help Out!
Kids love to help in the kitchen and are much more willing to try new things if they’ve helped to create them. Tell them about the ingredients and how they will make them big and strong as you add them into the recipe. Let them help you pick out the produce, etc, at the grocery store. Cooking can be a great bonding activity with your child and can lead to a lifelong love of cooking and eating fresh food.
We all want what’s best for our children in terms of health and nutrition. Family participation in the 90/10 Nutrition Plan is a great way to teach our kids more about healthy eating for life. The nutritional education that we can give them while they’re young will last them a lifetime.