Maintaining a healthy weight and normal growth is important in children. By teaching your kids healthy eating habits and following them yourself helps in raising healthy kids. Children pick up eating habits from adults. Hence picking up good eating habits when they are young will help them to lead a healthy lifestyle when become adults.
The important aspects of healthy eating in kids are portion control and cutting down the amount of fat and sugar in your kid’s diet. In order to promote a healthy living in kids, follow the simple ways of reducing fat intake in your child’s diet by serving:
- Low fat dairy products
- Fruits and vegetables for healthy snacking
- Whole grain breads
Also avoid making children used to sweetened drinks. If your child is overweight, then do not put him/her on any restrictive diet. In order to lose weight children should never be put under any restrictive diet without consulting a doctor.
Alternative Approach to develop kids healthy eating habits
Encouraging the child to eat slowly
When food is eaten slowly, the child can differentiate between hunger and fullness. Ask the child to wait for 5 to 10 minutes before offering second serving to know whether they are truly hungry or not. The brain will then get time to identify fullness. Always remember, the second serving should be less than the first.
Do not dictate foods rather include it in family’s choices
Make a list of healthy foods and store them in the house. This helps the child to make healthy choices. Do not keep or store unhealthy foods like the chips, juice or soda. Always serve water with meals.
Snacking continuously can make the child overweight. Plan in such a way that the snacks are served at specific times during the day. This does not spoil the child’s appetite during meal time. Make snacks as nutritious as possible. Allow the child to have an occasional chocolate or chips especially at birthday parties or social gatherings.
Family that eats together stays together
Make the meal time pleasant with good conversation and sharing. But do not make it a time for scolding or disciplining. If meal time becomes unpleasant, the child may eat his food faster and will look to leave the table faster. In a way they will associate stress with eating which isn’t good.
No watching TV or playing on a smartphone while eating
Meals or snacks should be given to children only at designated places like the dining room or the kitchen. Avoid sitting in front of the TV and keep the smartphones away while eating. This way the child can pay attention to the feeling of fullness and will not overeat.
Take your child for food shopping and involve them in the preparation of meals
This gives an opportunity to educate the child about nutrition and also gives an idea about your child’s preferences. The child will also show interest to have the foods which he/she has helped to prepare.
Make your child drink more water
Make the child drink more normal water than sweetened drinks or juices.
Avoid using food as a reward or to punish the child
Do not punish the child by withholding the food. For instance do not send the child to bed without dinner as a punishment. This may be a cause of worry for the child. Then they would overeat whenever they get a chance. Also do not offer sweets or chocolates as reward for doing something good. This makes the child feel that these foods are of more value. So promising a child to get a desert for eating vegetables gives a wrong impression on vegetables.
Make sure child eats balanced food outside the home
If lunch is offered at school, find out what is being served to the child. In case you are packing the lunch, make sure to include variety of foods. When dining out, opt for healthy choices.
Along with teaching kids healthy eating habits, teach them other healthy habits as well which include the following:
- Get 8 hours of sleep everyday.
- Do some form of exercise everyday like running, walking, stretching or playing.
- To maintain good hygiene by keeping themselves clean and germ free.
To check out the causes of obesity in children and ways to prevent it, click here