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We all want our kids to be happy and grow into healthy adults. However, anyone who has ever tried offering their kid something healthy knows how hard it can be. Even if you give them healthy food from the day one, life often interferes – other people too – making it harder for you to give them that healthy nutrition they need.
So, how to overcome this?
How do you teach your children to love healthy foods and be more focused?
Read on to learn more!
How Do You Teach Your Child Healthy Nutrition?
Families nowadays often have a busy schedule. This is what makes it had for parents to prepare homemade meals for their children which leads to plenty of unhealthy food. The habits form and getting your kid to go for something healthier gets harder.
But healthy eating can help your children be healthier now and in the future. It can promote cognitive function, improve their mood, balance their energy, help them keep a healthy weight and so on.
Here are some tips:
Start your day with a healthy breakfast
It’s no secret that the breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And this is the perfect time to include some healthy ingredients in your children’s meals. Add protein, vitamins and healthy minerals. For example, you could prepare an egg sandwich with a whole-wheat bread, give them some greek yogurt, fruit and so on.
Make meals a priority
Healthy eating habits start with making a habit to eat at the table. It will give you a perfect chance to spend time together as a family, create a routine, talk, monitor and control what they are eating and so on.
You can show them the perfect example of how they should be eating.
Involve your kids
Get your kids to help with picking out the food to buy and involve them in the preparation. This way, you can teach them many things and give them the right basis to be independent later in life. You can even plant a herb or veggie garden together.
Changing your routine entirely is a wrong idea. Younger kids will not respond well to this. So, start by making small changes. Use low-fat milk instead of whole milk. Use whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Make homemade smoothies or fruit ice creams instead of regular ice creams.
Replace butter with olive oils. Limit the amount of sweets in the house and offer fruit instead. None of this should be done at the same time but rather one thing at a time.
Don’t ban anything outright
Limiting your children’s experiences is never a good thing. They will only crave it and take it in large amounts when you are not there. Rather, make sweets and junk food a rare treat, not a regular thing.
Change recipes a bit
Maybe your food can have less sugar and less salt while tasting just as good.
Don’t store sugary drinks
If it’s there, they will take it. If not, they will go with water and be happy with that. But remember, making something forbidden makes it all the more appealing!
Have plenty of fruit at all times
Fruit is an excellent replacement for unhealthy snacks. If you keep some on hand in your home, your kids will love it and take plenty of it.
Prepare fruits and veggies in an appealing way
There are plenty of great recipes out there that will make fruit and veggies more appealing, especially to younger kids. Additionally, don’t keep anything you don’t want your children to eat in the house. But make it easy to snack on healthy foods. For example, don’t buy any chips but chop carrots or fruit and leave them where you know your child will be looking.
Best Ways to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy Food
Building an environment of healthy food habits is one of the best things you can do as a parent. Both your kids and you can be healthier and feel better if you embrace a positive relationship with healthy food.
But we all know kids form habits and can’t break out of them that easily. So, here are some tips on changing their nutritional habits:
Don’t restrict them
Many parents choose to ban certain foods. This is a valid choice, but it hasn’t shown great results. Your kids will rebel against you sooner or later. This can cause some serious problems for them later in life. They might overeat foods you banned just to spite you.
Now, think about a better approach. Rather than banning food for no reason, tell them why it’s better to eat healthy food. For example, tell them a story or show them what happens if they eat bad food.
You can also allow all foods, but teach your children moderation.
Have healthy food available
Children eat what’s available. This means that if you place fruit and vegetables in a convenient spot, they will eat it. Also, show them that you like it too.
Don’t label food as heroes or villains!
Rather than saying that food is good or bad, give them examples. If your kid is into sports, tell them that veggies will help them be better at it. If your kid is more into science, show them food that can help them be smarter and learn more. Tie the food to real people, their role-models too. If your child is older and wants to solve some skin problems or hair problems, show them foods that could do that.
No matter how old they are, your children want your approval. This is not unhealthy, and giving them a proud smile when they make good choices is a good idea.
But don’t criticize
Children hate nagging. If you nag about their food choices, they might prefer them, just to spite you. It’s better to redirect them and offer healthy options.
Don’t reward them with food
This creates weight problems later in life. Reward children with age appropriate incentives, like stickers, praise, etc.
Instead of putting all of the food on the table, prepare plates in the kitchen. This way, you avoid overeating and teach your children healthy portion sizes.
Give them some control
Serve the food your kids like and ask what they like. If they like carrots the best, for instance, serve them the most. Employ this in all areas. Giving your kids some control in shopping and meal preparation helps as well.
Top 10 Tips & Strategies for Healthy Kids
Every parent wants their kids to be happy, healthy and form good habits for later in life. However, this can seem like an uphill battle for most parents.
As you’ve seen, there are so many ways to get your kids to form healthy eating habits and form a good relationship with food. But there are many more things you can do to help them be healthy.
Put a focus on fruits and veggies
We’ve covered several methods above.
Give them protein
Keep in mind that fruits and veggies don’t have a sufficient amount of protein for children who are growing and developing. This means that you should offer plenty of lean meats, eggs and seafood. There are also beans, peas and nuts and seeds but in lower amounts.
Form a fishy habit
Once a week, give your children fish that’s high in omega 3 fats. Make a fun habit out of it.
Eat whole grains
Whole grain breads, rice, and cereals are a great way to sneak in extra nutrition.
Offer 4 meals per day
Focus on offering four meals a day and snacks. If they're not hungry, don't force them to eat. Just let them know the food you offered will be waiting for them when they're ready to eat. This will also make them less picky.
Form a water habit
Water is vital for proper growth and development. Promote healthy habits like water drinking and replace sugary beverages with water. Make it a game and track how much water your kids drink a day, letting them mark off a chart or whiteboard each time they refill their cup.
Spend time outside
Rather than staying in all day, do your best to take your children outside as much as possible. They will sleep better, be happier and healthier. Go for a walk as a family; even a quick 20 min walk around the block or park will be a great bonding exercise!
How Can You Help Your Child Focus Naturally?
Getting your child to have better focus is one of the best ways to ensure they succeed in life. However, this isn’t so easy. At the beginning, it’s important to understand that different kids have different attention spans and that it’s completely fine.
When you understand that, you can begin using these tips:
Define lack of focus
Is your child only focused on things they enjoy doing? For example, their focus is amazing during their art class but not so much at math. This is perfectly normal. You can’t focus on things you find boring either.
Support their interests but also encourage focus on what they don’t like by giving them examples of how that could lead them to great places.
Don’t compare your children to other children, especially their own siblings. You don't want to create excess rivalry. Every person in this world is different. Attune to what they can do and what their temperament is.
Allow them to focus on their interests
Maybe you think that they should focus on science or technology and establishing basis in that, but if your child likes arts or music more, there is not much you can do. Anything forced can cause a serious backlash in one way or the other. So, just nurture their interests.
Limit the distractions
The amount of screens and sounds everywhere creates many attention issues. Limit these around your house and limit the screen time as well. You should also spend less time on your devices and spend more time reading or with children outside.
What Healthy Habits Can Boost Kids’ Immune Systems?
Finally, boosting your children’s immune system is one of the most important things to do. Some kids have a naturally good immune system while some need a small boost. Here are some tips:
Have them eat healthier foods – namely, fruits and veggies
Get them to sleep more on a healthy basis
Exercise together, as a family
Don’t overprotect them from germs – allow them to get dirty, play with animals and be exposed to this world in general. This isn't a free-for-all to roll in a pig sty; teach them to wash their hands properly and other hygiene elements.