How do I Improve my Kid’s Food Habits?
Fed up of the constant battle with your kids’ over their food habits? Want them to eat healthily, but don’t seem to be able to? We have a few tried and tested tricks up our sleeves that might help you.
Parenting is like being on a roller coaster. Just when you think you have figured it all out, come the sudden twist and drop!
This is a daily affair when it comes to encouraging and coaxing kids to choose healthy food over their ever-favourite junk.
A choice that is not only nutritious but also passes their ‘mood-o-meter’ of the day is one uphill task!
Kids, be it, toddlers, pre-teens or full-blown teens, are picky eaters and tough cookies to please. The older they are the more exasperating is the tussle.
Junk is what typically attracts them, and healthy meals are a spoiler.
They develop a preference for the food they enjoy eating the most.
However, as parents, we know that a nutritious and well-balanced diet is crucial to a child’s growth and development.
The challenge is to make healthy food choices appealing to the kids.
It sure is challenging to convince your child that fruit is as sweet and delicious as strawberry mousse!
So, we did some digging around, spoke to a few parents, nutritionists, child physiologists, children (Yes! them too. Remember they are our target audience, and we live in a free world!). Here is our take away from these chats.
Four ways to encourage healthy food habits in our kids
Move towards Smart & Innovative Cooking
Everyday ‘roti-dal-sabzi’ routine bores kids the most. Pulses and green veggies put, them off, and they shy away from eating, coming up with all kind of excuses.
Colourful, exciting, spicy, tangy and sweet dishes attract them.
Food experts suggest that small changes in the cooking style and presenting in a fun guise will not only get the kids to eat their food but also ask for more.
Give their favourite junk food a makeover - Let them eat their favourite noodles, just use whole wheat noodles instead of maida (all-purpose flour).
Similarly, make delicious pizzas at home using a multi-grain base and healthy toppings.
Knead fenugreek and spinach with the dough and spices and make mouth-watering paratha using small quantities of clarified butter, instead of the plain boring roti. Use whole wheat instead of all-purpose flour.
Make fried rice with loads of veggies.
Use whole wheat or multi-grain flour in their favourite apple cobbler, instead of all-purpose flour.
Make delightful healthy fruit snacks for them.
All these little tweaks will ensure they eat wholesome and healthy meals happily.
So, all the parents out there, smart cooking and innovative serving are your new mantras in helping your children move towards healthy food habits.
Involve the Kids
Involve the kids in planning and cooking the meals.
Take them grocery shopping and give them a choice to pick between a few healthy options.
Apple or pear? Carrot or spinach? Parmesan cheese or tofu?
This gets them more interested and excited about what is going to be cooked.
To seal the deal, involve them in preparing the meal as well, at least the simple ones.
This excites the kids like nothing else as they feel empowered and take great pride in presenting what they prepare and will gobble it up in no time at all.
Additionally, it is a great way to bond with them and make some fun memories!
Talk to them about making healthy choices and take their suggestions in planning a balanced meal.
Guys, time for some smart thinking as well!
Don’t War Over Eating Healthy
This maxim, we all know, but tend to forget when our patience is wearing thin in trying to get the kids to eat.
It takes a lot out of a parent to ignore that untouched or half-eaten plate of food. But it has to be done.
DO NOT obsess over what your kids are or aren’t eating.
No amount of nagging, cajoling, yelling, scolding, tearing your hair out, or for that matter bribing, will do the trick.
In fact, all this will have just the opposite effect, and in no time at all, it will become a battle of wills.
Just ignore, stay patient and keep making interesting food for them and let the kids have some say in what and when they want to eat.
More importantly, limit the junk food availability at home and keep those fingers crossed!
Lead by Example
The best way to inculcate healthy food habits in kids is to eat healthy yourself.
Kids tend to imitate what they see being followed by their elders on a daily basis.
By following a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables in the right proportion, and minimising our intake of junk food, we will be sending the right message to our kids.
Meal times are significant not just for family bonding but also for building healthier eating habits in the kids.
Among the healthy, convenient and hassle-free option is FRU2go.
A fabulous fruit snack, it is not only 100% natural and nutritious but extremely appealing to the kids as well because of its taste and inventive mixing of fruits.
Last, but not least, do keep in mind that healthy eating habits cannot be taught overnight. They slowly become a part of our kids’ lives – through patience, inventiveness and yes, a bit of craftiness of the folks!
Hope these little tricks help you in encouraging your kids to move towards a healthier lifestyle. Do you have any ploy of your own that saw a positive change in your child’s eating habits? Do share in the comments section. The most creative and unique suggestion stands a chance to win a gift hamper from FRU2go.