We live in the era of fancy food and thus it is difficult to inculcate healthy eating habits in kids. They are not only more familiar with fancy and junk food, but they also relish it. Apart from taste, other reasons are easy availability and accessibility.
Due to the above constraints, it has become difficult for parents to introduce good and healthy eating habits in kids. As children spend most of their day at schools, it would be a good place to start healthy eating habits. However, the main question here is “HOW?”, and to answer it, there are a few suggestions:
1. A healthy routine:
Plan the lunch boxes for the week. This will allow you to strike the correct balance of diet a kid might need. Make sure to include eggs, sprouts, and leafy vegetables in various recipes. Avoid tetra-pack juice-box as it contains high level sugar and never is a good option compared to fruits.
- Make things interesting:
If you tell your kid that you’ve packed some vegetable with rotis, you’ll surely face tantrums and an unfinished lunch box. So what if you turn it into a franky or a quesadilla? You can even hide a lot of vegetables in pav bhaji or soup. Also, make your dishes appealing. Instead of calling it palak rice, call it green rice. Similarly, grate vegetables in the flour and make vegetable rotis instead of plain rotis. Little variations like this will make it easy for you as well as your child.
- Actions speak louder than words:
Children always learn what they see. So a parent’s eating habit will be a great influence on a child’s preference for food. Make sure you eat healthy. Avoiding processed food, canned items, cold drinks, packed foods, etc would be beneficial for you as well as your kid.
- The power of appreciation:
To acknowledge something increases its value and also boosts morale of your kid to eat better. If your child finishes his/her tiffin, make sure you notice it and appreciate them. With appreciation, you can always add hugs, pecks, praises, and so on. Adding cute notes to the lunch-box always makes it more interesting.
- Repetition is a big NO-NO:
Monotony makes healthy food boring. Same taste or dishes will result into lack of interest. So when you make a plan, make sure to keep more options.
- Include school in your plan:
It is always more advisable to talk to the teachers in order to maintain the spirit of healthy eating amongst all the children in the class. Kids would definitely share their tiffins and the only way to maintain the spirit of healthy eating, schools should have certain rules and regulations. The canteens at school should serve healthy food instead of unhealthy snacks and junk.
For short breaks, make sure you pack fruits, nuts, protein bars, boiled peanuts, boiled sweet-potato, etc for the kid. It would maintain the hierarchy of good-food and also act as a reward for finishing the lunch.
A habit is more effective if started at an early age. Even the concept of pocket-money could be eradicated in order to avoid invitation to unhealthy eating. So, make them eat with you at home, follow fix meal timing, play with names of your recipes and be an example of healthy eating.