1. Remove Labels on Foods
Foods should not be labelled as either bad or good. Instead, you should empower your children to make informed decisions. Get them to relate on their level how the food will impact their lives. Think about what they are most passionate about….Muscle building? Playing sports? Getting good grades? Why not use your children’s goals to help persuade them to make better decisions about the foods they eat? For example, you can let them know that lean protein such as turkey and calcium in dairy products give them strength to play their favourite sport. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables promote healthy skin, hair, and eyes. And eating a healthy breakfast will help them stay focused during class from start to finish.
2. Involve Them in Meal Preparation and Grocery Shopping
You can also inspire your kids to eat healthy by including them in the planning process (e.g., meal preparation and grocery shopping). This has the potential to engage their senses and to teach them a variety of life skills that they can take with them to school and beyond. Children who are involved in meal planning are also more likely to eat the food that is given to them and will develop healthier habits as a result. Remember this saying: the more the involvement, the less the battle!
3. Create Food Art
What is so appetizing about a bland piece of broccoli or brussel sprout sitting on a plate waiting to be eaten? Kids eat with their eyes before their mouths. If their eyes do not connect with the food, they will not touch the food or aim to put the food in their mouths. Why not get creative with food? Turn a simple whole wheat pancake into a breakfast pop or an omelette into a thick, tasty breakfast burrito. If out of ideas, there are plenty of creative ideas on the internet that can turn your boring looking broccoli into a mouth-succulent hamburger.
4. Small Shifts to Healthier Eating
An entire meal plan does not need to be revamped in one night. In fact, most swift overhauls of meal plans lead to early abandonment. Instead, start the process by identifying unhealthy items in your fridge or pantry and then finding a few alternatives to them. The idea is to slowly add in more until all unhealthy options have been replaced. Examples of easy swaps to make include:
Every healthy choice is a step in the right direction. Appreciate every step even if it’s just a small one.
5. Lead by Example
Children pick up healthy (or unhealthy) eating habits from the adults they spend time with. This is the time to try broadening your own healthy food horizons. Your approach to healthy food can influence your child’s attitude.
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