Healthy Habits for Kids

All parents want their children to be healthy, but how do you decide when it’s okay to indulge and when to put your foot down? Teaching your kids healthy eating habits can be difficult, but it’s absolutely possible if you stick to your guns and try these 10 handy tricks.

Remember to Lead by Example. Children learn from what they see, and if they see you eating sweets or salty snacks all the time, they’re likely to want the same treats for themselves. Create a healthy diet for yourself, and your children will take notice.

Provide Plenty of Variety. If you always serve the same three dishes to your children, they’re sure to get bored and may not find a dish that they like. Encourage them to try new veggies by making a fun game or rhyme. “We love veggies, yes we do! Can you eat the red ones, the green ones, the blue?” Get them laughing – blue veggies? No way!

Emphasize That Treats are for Special Occasions. Everyone should be able to enjoy a piece of cake at a birthday party or a few pieces of candy on Halloween. Don’t go overboard, but let your children know that treats are appropriate for special events.

Skip Restaurants, When Possible. Eating healthfully at restaurants can be very difficult. Some of the healthiest choices, however, include restaurants with local cuisine, Thai food and anywhere with fresh meats and veggies.

Provide Healthy Snacks. Snacking isn’t evil; you simply have to make sure that those snacks are healthy. Keep small, healthy snacks on hand to give kids fun choices. Some examples include nuts, fruit, cheese, fresh juice and veggies.

Decide What’s on the Table. A sure way to provide your children with healthy food is to cook it yourself. Remember, though they can decide how much they will eat, you can decide what they eat by cooking healthy meals. Choose lean meats, fish and fresh produce.

Start Early. Start your children on a healthy eating path by starting as early as possible. Whether this means eating healthfully when you’re pregnant, buying organic baby food or deliciously healthy after-school snacks, the best time to start is today.

Trust Your Children. Your children know when they are hungry and how much they should eat. As long as you’re sure they’re eating for the right reasons (i.e., not out of boredom), trust them to make the right choices. If you follow the steps above, they’ll learn what’s best for them by example.

Stop Worrying So Much. If you’re feeling anxious about your kids’ eating habits, they may begin to fear mealtime. On a similar note, if you are too controlling, they might want to rebel by eating unhealthy foods in secret. Make sure that mealtime is a time your family enjoys.

Good luck teaching your children healthy eating habits! And remember, your family’s healthy eating starts with your example.