You’ve made it a point to start reading labels. You’re incorporating more fruits and vegetables. You’ve cut out some of your go-to packaged snacks. That’s awesome. Keep it going! But, if you’re a parent, now’s the time to get your kids (no matter what age) involved in the transformation you’ve got going on. Childhood obesity is a real thing, and so is the infiltration of unhealthy food options that are targeted toward children. You’ve got a lot of control when it comes to what your kids (especially young kids) eat, and the earlier you introduce healthy eating habits, the easier it will be for your child or children to embrace them.
Here are just a few tips to help you start introducing nutrition topics to your children, and begin shifting their eating habits as you shift your own.
- Show them the produce – If it’s in the house, your child is more likely to be willing to explore new foods. Make a point to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, and prepare them so that your kids can easily get to them and eat them without any peeling, cutting or washing. How will your child ever know if they like cauliflower if they never have a chance to try it?
- Talk about added sugar – Sugar is everywhere, and it’s so detrimental to our health. We consume way too much of it, and it’s time to start cutting the added sugar out. We broke sugar all the way down here. Let your children know that you’re not going to buy drinks with sugar, and tell them why. Avoid sprinkling sugar in cereal (there’s probably already more than enough there). Challenge your children to reach for fruit if they want a sweet treat.
- Plan with the kids – Plopping a plate full of unfamiliar vegetables down in front of a child is a recipe for disaster. Brussel who? Instead of simply asking them to switch their eating habits cold turkey involve them in the process of meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. It’s an experience that will get them excited about foods, and about trying the dishes they helped create.
- Take it slow – Eating healthy as a lifestyle is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. A long marathon that involves lifelong learning. Encourage your kids to embrace the transition you’re making, but give them the room they need to accept it and adapt. You didn’t get there overnight, right? So why would you expect a child to?
Every day you get a new chance to change the way you look and feel through the foods you choose to eat. Keep pushing, and take your family along for the beautiful ride too!