Sometimes it can be hard to get the kiddos to eat all the food on their plates, especially their veggies and other good stuff. So, whether you have a toddler, tween or teen, here are five great ways to help improve nutrition and encourage better eating habits:
1. Have regular family meals
Spending this time together every night creates a routine for the kids and the whole family to look forward to. This special time helps everyone to slow down, talk about their day and be introduced to new foods that they are more apt to try.
2. Serve a variety of healthy foods and snacks
Exposing the kids to new and different things throughout the day helps to broaden their food horizons and gets their taste buds open to new things. So, try something new for breakfast, add a variety of snacks into their lunch bag and for after school snack. Cook a new dinner entree each night and see how the fam reacts.
3. Be a role model by eating healthy yourself
There’s nothing more impactful than leading by example. If you start changing your eating habits and eat healthy, delicious foods, the kids will no doubt want to try too. How many times have been eating something and at least one of the kids just has to put their little fingers in your plate to try it? It happens so often to me that I sometimes have to go in my closet to eat stuff I really don’t want to share!
4. Avoid battles over food
We were always told as kids that we couldn’t leave the table until we finished our plates. I think that way of thinking should be left in the past. Forcing our kids to eat when they are full or are finished eating before their plates are clean, may cause negative eating habits through adulthood, subconsciously overriding the feeling the fullness leading to overeating.
5. Involve kids in the process
Kids love to help in the kitchen, no matter their age (teens included). Giving them access to the prep and cooking process, gets them involved in the family’s meal planning. Allow them to participate in age-appropriate meal prep (slicing tomatoes, sprinkle parmesan on the pasta, placing food on everyone’s plate, etc.), get them to help plan their school lunches, and choose items to serve for meals.
Implementing these five key things in your daily family life can help prepare them to make good decisions on their own about the foods they want to eat from now through the time they have their own children. Ladies, lead them to a healthier life now, so that they make the right choices later.
Photo by: http://www.DailyWeighIn.com
[As originally submitted to ThisFitsMe.com on Oct. 11, 2015]