What Are Some Healthy Eating Habits You Can Teach Your Kids?

As obesity rates among children continue to increase, parents are left wondering how to keep their children healthy and active. Almost 20% of American children are obese and the number continues to rise. While kids are often known to be picky eaters, getting kids to eat healthier does not have to be a difficult task. Healthy eating habits often start at home and teaching kids to have a healthy and good relationship with food is important to keep their health in check. Here are some smart eating habits to teach your kids to make healthy eating choices:  

  1. Cook with them- To help encourage good eating habits have your kids join you in the kitchen. Cooking with kids can help them be a part of the process. This gets them involved and invested so that they can see how their groceries go from the bag to the stove to the dinner table. Kids are also more likely to eat what they prepare themselves.

  2. Keep things colorful - Not only can adding color to your plate make your food look appetizing, but eating a colorful variety of vegetables can bring various kinds of nutritional benefits. Introducing colorful vegetables into your children’s diets can encourage them to choose healthier options. Many superfoods , which are highly nutritious, can add a pop of color to your plate and are great for fun snacking.

  3. Setup smart snacking - If you stock up on healthy snacks, kids will eat healthy snacks. Kids love to snack and while you do not want them to spoil their regular meals, you do want them to snack regularly on healthy foods. Instead of stocking up on chips and cookies, keep a variety of fruits and whole grain crackers to keep their hunger at bay without ruining their appetite for dinner. As long as you do not keep unhealthy snacks in the pantry kids will not eat them. Although you may not be able to control what they get from friends or purchase themselves, displaying good habits at home can influence them to make good habits on their own.

  4. Be a role model - Showing your kids healthy eating habits, but snacking on a bag of chips yourself sends the wrong message to children. Encouraging your kids to eat healthy means eating healthy yourself. Try keeping the same habits you build for your kids yourself. This could include preparing healthy lunches with your kids for them and yourself. Packing snacks that are healthy for them and you in your bags can show that you are committed to health as well.

  5. Eat family dinners together - Today, the fast pace of life and the numerous commitments that kids and parents have end up with families spending less time together. The family dinner is a crucial time for parents not only to provide children with healthy food, but also a time to foster healthy relationships. According to research, children who grew up eating family dinners with their parents were not only healthier physically, but also had healthier emotional relationships with their parents.

  6. Don’t use food as a reward or punishment system - Using food as a reward or as a way to punish bad behavior can often lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Rewarding children with unhealthy foods such as a cookie can lead to them to build unhealthy eating habits such as eating too many foods that are high in sugar. Using food to punish kids such as forcing them to eat more vegetables or withholding dessert can lead them to associate negativity to healthier foods such as vegetables. Instead, find other ways to reward children and do not force them to eat when they do not want to.  

Food

Building healthy eating habits with kids does not have to be impossible. Starting these healthy habits at home can help guide them to make educated and positive choices on their own. These steps to healthy eating can also lead them to having a better relationship with food.