Kids are often picky eaters who create a big fuss over eating almost anything that is good for them. The classic problem is that healthy food is not tasty, and tasty food is not healthy. Every parent is more than familiar with the struggle of making kids eat healthy foods.
To those of you who face this problem every day, fear not! Here are five ways to foster healthy eating habits for kids.
Kids are often fascinated by variety when it comes to food. It doesn’t have to be a different dish or even taste unique each time, different shapes and colours do the trick just as well. Take advantage of this and incorporate greens in the form of wraps and sandwiches cut in different shapes. Combinations like grated beetroot with cottage cheese pancakes provide a fantastic contrast which makes healthy eating habits fun for your children. Turn sabji-roti into wraps, and your kids won’t even know how they’re gobbling down sprouts and healthy greens.
Baked finger foods can be a great replacement for your kids’ favourite fried snacks. They look attractive which may make it easier to get picky children to go for it. A simple ketchup smiley on top of any plain sandwich will make a child eat it much more happily than an average-looking sandwich. Swap plain milk for smoothies if your child doesn’t like milk. Date and strawberry smoothies with a garnish of strawberry at the top of the glass seem to be rather attractive for kids. It is also teeming with iron, calcium and super healthy antioxidants. If your kid doesn’t like eating fruits, try making popsicles which look like candies, and they may happily consume fruits in that form.
Most parents scold their children for having chips, chocolates, pizzas, burgers, cold drinks and other junk food. The very same parents often munch on the said junk food on lazy days while watching TV. Children are silent observers; they imitate us even though they may not realize it themselves. It is very important for us to develop a good lifestyle and healthy eating habits if we want our kids to do the same. Encouraging outdoor activity and physical exercise when we rarely do it ourselves won’t really work with kids. So, one of the best ways to encourage good lifestyle habits in your kids is to develop them yourself!
Physical exercise has many benefits. It releases endorphins, popularly known as “feel-good hormones”, which promote robust mental health along with physical fitness. Endorphins have great long-term effects not only on the body and mind but also on the development of a child’s personality. Additionally, engaging in sports has been known to improve team spirit, boost the ability to deal with failure and foster a healthy competitive spirit in kids. Playing sports helps children develop social skills which help them adjust and adapt better to their peers and surroundings.
There have been cases these days of children of a very young age group developing various diseases like fatty liver. It is only because of faulty diet habits by consuming high fatty foods and not exercising at all. Therefore, some form of activity is very important for kids. Encourage them to participate in fun outdoor games like spoon and marble, potato race, four corners etc. It also helps them to mix around with their peers and develop group activity skills.
Consumption of natural and unadulterated fluids is by far the most underrated healthy eating habit of all. Almost everything else you do is likely to show highly limited success in terms of improving your child’s health unless this habit is developed, too. Regular and abundant hydration ensures that your child’s system is detoxified and kept functioning smoothly. This ensures that they absorb appropriate nutrients, making optimal use of the healthy food for kids that you feed them. So last but not the least, make sure your kids drink lots of water and fruit or vegetable juices!
When comparing kids of the same age, it is found that the one having a nutritious adequate breakfast which is packed with various nutrients like iron, calcium and various vitamins and minerals perform better physically as well as mentally rather than the one actually not having breakfast or having junk food for breakfast.
About The Author: Dr. Krystel Quadros is a Dietician. She has Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics.