10 Ways to Get Your Children to Eat Healthy Food

17 July 2014 08:47 am

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A healthy diet will make a healthy child. But how do you get a child to eat healthy food? here are 10 easy ways to help you tackle with the ‘food battle’ at home.

  Start Early Experts believe that some foodpreferences are shaped even as early as infancy, when the child  astes their first solid food. Most mothers introduce bananas as the first solid food. This favour a shift towards sweet food opposed to ones like vegetables. Start with vegetables and introduce  fruits later. Disguise food An easy way to get your children to eat healthier and win their ‘stomachs’ is to mix good food  (which they might hate) with the ones they like. But the food in disguise should not overpower  the others. Another similar but not so ‘disguised’ way is to dip fruits and vegetables in sauces or  other special dips to make them more palatable. Don’t punish with When the more lenient measures won’t give results, parents often resort to threats and punishments. A child will eat when they are hungry. So allow them to leave the table when they think they had enough. But if they do not eat anything and ask for their favourite food or expect a snack later, do not give in. Let them have the same meal as the snack. Do not try to bribe the children out of bad behaviour by promising them food they like. Make the diningtable a pleasant place Children will make good behaviour into habits only if you get them to practise it everyday. Start from the dining table. It is better that everyone can sit around to enjoy the meal together. Make sure everyone is comfortable. Ban teasing or threatening at the table. Do not bring out family issues at the table, though it might be tempting. Let everyone enjoy the meal and take time to eat slowly. Have a light conversation at the table and get everyone to participate. Keep away from television Eating in front of the television is one habit your children can do away with. Studies have found that children who watch television have unhealthy eating habits compared to children that eat away from television. When the attention is taken away from food, they tend to consume more fat and sugar with fewer fruits and vegetables. Try to have more ‘family meals’ with your television switched off. It will foster better eating habits and more importantly, improving the bonding among family members. Stay active When you engage in physical activities, your appetite improves. Encourage your children to involve in sports at school or get them to play outside. Set an example yourself by staying active. This behaviour will keep your children away from computers, video games and television. ‘No Thank You Bite’  When your child is refusing to eat food, you can enforce the ‘No Thank You Bite’. It is a simple rule that you have to eat at least a single bite from everything on the plate. This may be a bit difficult to begin but as you move along, children will realize that some food, which they hated initially are not as bad as they thought they were. This is best started on a toddler and you can introduce new food items every few days. Cut off desserts You do not need to have desserts after every meal. This might make the child eat less of the meal, hoping to fill up with dessert. Make desserts an occasional treat. And when you do, make them as balanced as possible and include fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Use variety Be creative and avoid feeding the same type of food to your child. Your child might be stuck on one food and refusing others. It will prevent a healthy meal and overtime, your child too might get bored with food. Break the usual routine and cook up something different. For instance, cook food from another culture or country and see how they react. Make eating a pleasurable experience. Get them involved in cooking Children will often enjoy helping you with cooking. It will also make the experience much more fun. They can even choose the fruits and vegetables they prefer. They will be more willing to eat what they ‘cooked’. So you may be spared of the trouble of making them eat.It may be a hassle at first where your work may be doubled, but soon they will be willing to share your workload if the experience is good enough. (Image courtesy internet)

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