Raising healthy eaters is an important and can become a difficult task for any parent. Not only do you want to give your kids healthy meals, but you also want them to learn to enjoy nutrition and stick with good eating habits throughout their lives. Here are a few tips to help get your little ones on the path to healthier eating.
Enjoy Family Meals
With schedules packed with work, soccer practice, school, etc. family meals are the first thing to go! However, don’t underestimate the power of sitting down together as a family. Eating around the table on a daily basis at least once a day, gives you the chance to become a role model for the kids. When they see you reaching for more veggies and lowfat dairy products, they will be more likely to do the same, developing a habit that will last well into their future.
When watching your child eat, try to notice when they start playing with their food or become restless and start fidgeting. These are signs that your little one is full. Before they leave the table, try offering them nutritious, simple foods. The long time go to of “five more bites of peas before you leave the table” would work well in this situation.
Offer Choices & Explanation
You get to decide what foods you serve, but let your child decide which of these healthy foods they will eat. If they won’t reach for the healthier snacks, try giving a fun explanation of why it’s being served. For example, let them know that spinach will help him grow muscles like Superman!
Provide Healthy Snacks
Children need to eat small portions throughout the entire day because of their toddler-sized tummies. Schedule times for these mini-meals and offer snacks that are high in calcium, protein and carbs for sustaining energy. A glass of milk contains calcium, protein & vitamin D. Try paring it with whole grain toast and fruit for a quick and filling snack.
Stay active as a whole family. Get your metabolism going with energetic playtime for 1-2 hours per day. Try turning off the TV and planning a day at the park, family bike ride, or fun hike, making sure to bring snacks packed with calcium, protein and vitamin D! Getting kids to want to spend more time outdoors and less time on the couch is a great habit to start at an early age.