Children learn conscious eating habits best from a very young age. Later on, once established eating habits however are very difficult if not impossible to change. Example: Who was disgusted with Brussels sprouts as a child is likely not enjoying them as an adult. Therefore Parents should lead by example and include the kids actively while eating.
Parents as role-models
Children learn about food in the family. They develop their sense of taste, habits, likes and dislikes. In order to pass on healthy eating habits one has to ensure to start early. Simply put: If the parents eat with evident enjoyment many different foods, including fruits and vegetables, the children might do so as well. As a result, the children take the food with a more positive feelings. Even if kids do not immediately jump on something new, in the long run patience does pay off; children develop preferences for most foods that are always on the table. Many of the principles apply to adults and children – drink enough, eat natural foods as often as possible and frequently, because that is just as important as a balanced diet. Family wellbeing does and has to include children; parents leading by example will ensure that their offspring will be raised healthy.
Actively involving children
A pot of basil or chives on the window sill sometimes works wonders. Children can watch the herbs grow and develop a real interest about the origin of the food. Even if they are involved to cover smaller tasks in cooking and putting the food on the table, that will arouse their curiosity. Asking your kids questions also helps: How do the vegetables taste? How the fruit feels in your hand? A decorated table or nice arranged food on the plate can address the playfulness of children. However, it is also important that children are to be allowed to decide for themselves how much food they want on their plates. In essence, this will help then to develop their own sense of hunger and satiety. It also makes them aware about the does and don’ts, what foods are good, which ones are less healthy.
Regular meal times
Are you planning a fixed time for eating with your family? Sitting together at the table and dine promotes the desire for healthy nutrition. Those who eat slowly, also has more time to fill up. The common meal is only complete when all are done. However, this does not mean that all the dishes must be completely eaten. Since children have a notorious sweet tooth, it may sometimes be good to prepare some sweet dishes as part of the main course because that is always better than using sweets as a reward – If there is ice cream being served after the asparagus, this makes the ice-cream more attractive and asparagus even less attractive.
Keep the Entire family in mind
For children to eat a balanced diet and healthy, they need their parents. There are plenty of websites and magazines for family wellbeing supporting families in this task. Those tips and information about healthy food can improve the eating habits. A lot of publications also show what families can do in their spare time to provide, in addition to a healthy diet, adequate exercises for the family. Numerous delicious, but “low fat” recipes can indeed awaken the joy of cooking. Especially handy are seasonal foods in your shopping basket, recipes according to the seasons, divided in spring / summer and autumn / winter. Involving all members of the family is very important and especially kids can be empowered and contribute to a balanced and healthy life style.