Eating health-boosting meals is essential for your children’s growth and development. It will stabilise their energy, sharpen their minds and improve their congenital and cognitive development.
Experts have also linked poor nutrition in children to poor academic performance.
No matter how good your intentions may be, it will always be difficult to convince your eight-year-old daughter that eating beans is as sweet a treat as eating a cookie. But, you can ensure that your children’s diet is as nutritious and wholesome as possible with these tricks:
Encourage your kids to cook: If your children become involved in choosing or preparing meals, they will be more interested in eating what they have created. Take them to the store, and let them choose the food items for you.
If they are old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables and mix them into a salad.
Cut back on junk food: Remember, you – not your kids – are in charge of the foods that enter your home. By having fewer junk foods around, you will force your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.
Allow treats: Having less healthy foods occasionally keeps them from becoming forbidden and makes them even more appealing. We call candy, soda, and cookies “sometimes” foods.
Be a role model: If you are constantly on a diet or have erratic eating habits, your children will grow up thinking that this sort of behaviour is normal. Be honest with yourself about the kinds of food messages you are sending. Trust your body to tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full, and your kids will learn to do the same.
Have regular family meals: Knowing that dinner is served at approximately the same time every night and the entire family will be sitting down together is comforting and enhances appetite. Breakfast is another great time for a family meal, especially since kids who eat breakfast tend to do better in school.
Cook more meals at home: Eating home-cooked meals is healthier for the whole family and it sets a great example for kids about the importance of food. Restaurant meals tend to have more fat, sugar, and salt. Save dining out for special occasions.
Limit portion sizes: Don’t insist that your child cleans the plate and never use food as a reward or bribe. As hard as this may be, try not to comment on what or how much your kids are eating. Be as neutral as possible.
Remember, you have done your job as a parent by serving balanced meals; your kids are responsible for eating them. If you play food enforcer by saying things like “eat your vegetables”, your child will only resist.