Encouraging your children to eat a healthy balanced diet in the early stages of their development can be fundamental to how they view food for the rest of their life.
By teaching your children good habits and encouraging a healthy view of food, you will set them on the right path.
Learning by example
In everything they do, children learn by example, copying adults in order to figure out how best to do things. With food it is no different, and with this in mind you can get your children to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Vegetables are often a sore spot with children, with many refusing to eat them.
However, by eating them yourself, your child will see that this is good behaviour which they should emulate, and they will become more willing to try them.
Furthermore, by teaching your children how to cook and involving them in the food preparation process, they will see exactly what it takes to lead a healthy life.
By setting the example of preparing your food in a healthy way, such as by grilling meat instead of frying it, your child will develop these good habits.
Children are desperate to grow up, and the key to being a grown up is having independence.
By allowing your children independence at meal times they will appreciate that the good choices are their own, and will continue with this behaviour.
A simple way of fostering this mind set is to let your children serve themselves at meal times.
By offering a few healthy choices, and letting your children take however much they would like of each, your child will think that he or she has done everything themselves, and eat their meal with relish.
As mentioned earlier, encouraging your children to make their food also helps them develop independence and their own sense of what is good for them. Home-made pizza can be fun for children to make, and is both tasty and infinitely healthier than packaged, shop-bought alternatives.
Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world, and some children may see through these tactics.
Not to fear, it is still possible to have control over your child’s diet and make sure that the important nutrients haven’t been missed, and they don’t have to know it.
If your child absolutely refuses to eat healthier foods like fruit and vegetables, it can be a good idea to hide vegetables in dishes.
Grating carrot into lasagne or spaghetti bolognese will mean your child thinks they are eating their favourite dish and evading their vegetable responsibilities, meanwhile you know better.
In the same way, you can pad out many dishes such as casseroles with beans and legumes, which are barely noticeable among the strong flavours of the dish.
If you are still worried about your kids not eating healthy enough, try encouraging them to drink milk or water with meals and throughout the day.
It is important to forget that healthy eating guide is not just about food, and staying hydrated and ingesting lots of calcium is imperative.