Kids can develop healthy eating habits by observing their family members, particularly parents, and peers. If their surroundings consist of individuals who are health oriented and inclined towards healthy eating patterns, there is no chance that they will move towards the wrong track. In essence, parents can make mealtime enjoyable and memorable for kids by spending adequate time with them, teaching them the advantages of making sensible food choices, so that they learn to stay away from fast food and adopt healthy eating behaviours. In this manner, they will develop good food habits, and dietary patterns, and will learn lifelong lessons necessary in the maintenance of optimum health, and well being.
1. Set mealtime
Parents must determine to fix mealtime in order to keep kids disciplined and aware of the scheduled meal timings. At least two meals must be consumed at home, particularly early morning and dinner. An early morning meal can be a glass of toned cow’s milk with Cardamom and Crushed Almonds along with oatmeal cookies, or Ragi choco cookies. Other alternatives include oatmeal with strawberries and barley meal with honey. Dinner must be consumed at least two hours before the sleeping time of children. For example, if kids normally go to bed by 10 pm, make sure to give them dinner by 8 pm. Dinner options include roti with vegetables or rice with lentils and fruit raita.
2. Make family time fun-filled and calm
This is particularly important for the evening meal when parents return home from work and kids want to spend time with them. Parents must ensure that they do not scold or rebuke their kids without any serious reason, and kids spend quality time relaxing at home with other family members, feeling happy and satisfied with their surroundings. Parents must try to maintain peace and harmony at home by settling their personal differences so that they never have an impact on their kids’ mental and nutritional health.
3. Take kids out for grocery shopping
It is a great idea to take kids out to supermarkets and grocery stores. Let kids choose their favourite fruits, vegetables, breakfast cereals, and nuts. Try to avoid taking them to the bakery section of the store where processed biscuits, cakes, unhealthy snacks are found in abundance. Let children take responsibility of keeping fruits, vegetables, and dairy products in the common fridge. Also, tell kids to choose fresh fruits instead of juices in evenings, if they have hunger cravings, or want to enjoy a snack.
4. Try to maximize kids involvement and participation
Every evening, try your best to select appropriate tasks, so that your kids can play a crucial role in the meal preparation process without getting bored, or overwhelmed. It is important to give your kids due to appreciation, and credit, which they truly deserve for helping you out in the kitchen, cooking dinner. So, keep in mind that at the end of the evening meal, don’t forget to praise the little chef who participated in food preparation. Giving positive feedback and no criticism or negativity can boost the morale of your child. Besides being a useful lesson for kids, it might promote future participation in cooking for the family. In addition, if you can get them thinking about what they usually eat for lunch, you might be successful in helping them make desirable changes in their lunch plans. Every week try to brainstorm your children about kinds of foods they’d prefer for lunch and note down their preferences. Moreover, make it a habit to go to the grocery store to shop together for healthy foods. There is another essential reason why kids should be meaningfully involved: it can help in preparing them in making sound decisions independently about the foods they want to include during mealtimes.