Healthy Eating Tips for Kids

Healthy Eating Tips for Kids # 1

The first of my healthy eating tips is to listen to your children! Don't chide them, or try to force food on them that they don't like. Children have more sensitive tastebuds than adults. This is why they often have such an intense dislike of certain foods. It has been shown that they are more sensitive to the bitterness in green vegetables, for example. So, when children dislike something, they are not just doing it to annoy you! Sometimes, because they have such vibrant tastebuds, young children only like to eat one thing at a time. In this case, for example, give them sandwich ingredients separately on a plate.

Healthy Eating Tips for Kids # 2

If your child has a favourite factory food, replicate it at home with fresh, healthy ingredients.

Healthy Eating Tips for Kids # 3

Involve your children as much as possible in cooking at home. It can be a nuisance, but supervising them while they take over the kitchen, or act as your little helpers, is an important part of their education about food. The subject of cooking and healthy eating should not be left to school to teach to teenagers----by then it's too late. It should begin at home, before your children even start school. Whatever they learn from you, in the kitchen, will stand to them for life.

I used to stir soups and stews, with a wooden spoon in one hand while balancing my baby on my hip, with the other. From a very young age, my daughter has been close to the wonderful sensations of cooking, which have seeped their way deep into her psyche. Cooking is a sensuous experience---the smells, the sounds, the taste, the touch, the colours to delight the eye. Let your baby experience all this, as you cook. This way, you will be laying down an early attachment to home-cooking in your child, which will put her on the road to healthy eating as an adult.

As soon as my daughter could walk, she was helping me with the cooking. Young children love to shape burgers, or muffins, or stir the mixing bowl. When children are encouraged to do this at a young age, they absorb all they need to learn about home-cooking and it becomes part of them.

This sort of osmotic learning is much more effective than the more dialectic method they will encounter from a Health Education teacher at school. Nothing they can learn at school will ever substitute for what you can teach them about healthy eating at home, just by how you live and eat and cook.

So, when your kids are at an age when they follow you everywhere and think you are a goddess, take advantage of it! When you cook, 'Show and Tell' what you're doing. Be grateful for their curiosity. It won't always be that way!

Healthy Eating Tips for Kids # 4

Encourage your children to become involved in planning what they eat. Learning to make responsible food choices at an early age is good for them. They are at the beginning of an educational process. The end result should be that they grow up to be adults who understand the value of good, healhy food and know how to make the right food choices for themselves. The earlier you start giving them some responsibility for this, the better. Once the boundaries are clear (for example, nothing containing sugar), let them choose what they like. You will be amazed at how wise they are, about what they need to eat. Any 'extreme' decisions, such as choosing the same thing every day, will usually self-correct within a short time.

Children are going to be more enthusiastic about something if they have a part to play in it. Give them some power! Enroll them in the process and they will become your accomplices instead of your foes. Work with your children's fads. They will probably stick to a small group of recipes that they will demand over and over again----until they start hating those and demand something new! Be flexible and go with the flow. And don't worry too much, so long as whatever they do eat is natural and wholesome. Whatever your children's hang-ups about foods are, remember 'this too shall pass'.

Don't ever expect your children to be rational about their food likes and dislikes! For years, my daughter detested potato salad, until one day, she perkily demanded some in her lunch box, every day. It turned out that her favourite character, in a series of books she was reading, brought a fictional tub of potato salad to school everyday. As a result, potato salad became a healthy staple in our house for several years.

Healthy Eating Tips for Kids # 5

If your children are not living in an agricultural environment, introduce them, in other ways, to the magical way that nature provides for us. And, to a child, this is magical! A really nice way to do this, when your children are very young, is through simple activities in which they can produce something that they can eat themselves.

You could grow herbs in a window box, such as parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme, all of which are quite easy to grow. Or sprout spring onions from an onion. Or grow bean-shoots, or cress on sheets of dampened cotton wool.

If you have a garden, your children might enjoy growing some salad rocket, and be able to eat it within a month. When they are older, they might like to grow some vegetables for you, or tend a fruit tree, especially if you agree to buy the produce from them! Children love to eat the foods they have grown.

Healthy Eating Tips for Kids # 6

As the advertising guru with the funny ponytail says, "It's all about concept." Apply the tricks of factory food to wholesome food. First, make it the right size---small is beautiful where kids food is concerned. Make it easy to handle and consume. And finally, think of a funny name to call it.

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Remember! Healthy eating is enjoyable!

Blessings on your table!

The Good Food Angel


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