How To Make Your Child Eat Healthily

How To Make Your Child Eat Healthily

Generally, children prefer junk foods and may adamantly refuse or throw tantrums when fed healthier food options like vegetables.

While it can be a struggle for parents to handle their child's food preferences, it is important to ensure they eat healthily and develop healthy eating habits as they grow.

How, then, can you make your child eat healthily?

One way to ensure your child develops a healthy eating habit is to offer multiple healthy food options.

Children are likely to react negatively to being forced to eat foods they don't like.

However, giving your child the power to choose among the healthy food options you offer them gives them a sense of autonomy while still keeping you in control of their nutrition.

Also, children are drawn to what they see, and making healthy foods look more appealing will encourage them to eat healthily.

You can support your child in developing healthy eating habits by cutting out foods in shapes or silly faces, preparing a colorful meal, or using silly food names on the menu.

Similarly, the most effective way to encourage your child to make healthier food choices when they grow older is by being a good example they can follow.

Unhealthy diets and food choices can be bad for your child's physical and mental well-being.

Therefore, as a parent, your relationship with food matters greatly as it can influence your child's eating habits.

Read on to learn the tips and tricks to make your child eat healthily:

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Offer Multiple Healthy Food Options 

At a younger age, children seek freedom to make their own choices, and that includes choosing what they would eat.

While it might seem easier to force your child to eat the healthy food you have provided, it is not the best strategy for developing healthy eating habits.

It is likely for such a child to make unhealthy food choices when they have the "freedom" at an older age.

To make your child eat healthily, offer multiple healthy food options and allow them to choose.

You can start by involving them in meal preparations and planning.

Give your child food options or a list of ingredients with guidelines for what a meal has to entail, and allow them to create a meal plan.

Children are more willing and excited to eat a particular dish if they feel it is their idea.

Similarly, you can introduce a new dish to younger children by offering it to them in multiple forms.

For instance, if you want to introduce apples to your younger child, you can offer them the raw, dried, baked, or canned form.

Encourage them to touch, smell and taste before they decide which form they like best.

It is important to keep your child involved in your culinary journey.

Talk to them about food, ask what they think, and give them options they can choose from.

This way, they grow older with the ability to decide what is right or wrong for them.

Allow Your Child to Indulge 

Allowing treats once in a while might seem like the opposite of what you should be doing to make your child eat healthily.

However, you can't force your child to completely remove junk or treats from their diet.

Allowing them to eat what they like once in a while is a good way to balance their diet and improve their eating habits.

To ensure they snack healthily, you can give them healthy snack options.

Apple slices, nuts, carrots, grapes, lightly salted popcorn, and hard-boiled eggs are nutritious snack options you can introduce to kids.

Also, if your child craves sugar, you can add a little extra sweetness to their fruits and vegetables.

You can sprinkle brown sugar on carrots or add a caramel glaze on apples for them to indulge in.

Similarly, to encourage healthy snacking, avoid giving your child snacks as a bribe.

It might seem easier to hand over chocolates to a crying child; however, you will unintentionally train that child to see food as a way to cope with intense emotions.

Remember, the goal is to ensure your child eats healthy and learns to make healthy food choices independently.

The sad fact about strictly restricting your child from taking junk or snacks is that it only increases their cravings for it.

Allowing your child to have sweet treats in moderation will keep these cravings down and teach them self-control.

Play With Food

Meal time shouldn't be a stressful period for you or your child.

Children are less reluctant to eat when their food looks creative and fun.

You can make your child eat healthily by playing with food and cutting them into various shapes and sizes, so they look appetizing and appealing.

Also, by naming fruits and vegetables silly names, you can make healthy foods fun to eat for your child.

Some fun names for veggies and fruits include eyevocadoes for avocados, little trees for broccoli, and monkey fuel for bananas.

Children are more likely to eat twice as many vegetables when you give them these fun, catchy names.

Similarly, you can cut vegetables and fruits to make fun shapes or silly faces.

You can make hearts, flowers, animal faces, ducks, or star cuts on their pineapple, apples, hard-boiled eggs, or other foods to transform them into an appealing dish.

In addition, you can make mealtime super fun, relaxed, and comfortable for your child.

Set the atmosphere right by playing their favorite songs, catching up with them, and making jokes together as a family.

Schedule Meals and Snacks 

You can make your child eat healthily by planning a feeding schedule.

Be it for a proper meal, snacks, or desserts, children do better with structure, and this structure can help them develop a positive feeding habit.

Depending on your child's age, you can plan for the number of times they eat per day and the snacks they can have.

Ensure you offer a healthy, balanced diet for energy and proper nutrition.

Also, as a parent, planning meals and snacks gives you time to prepare and make healthy food options for your child.

You get to save a lot of time grocery shopping and avoid buying irrelevancies.

In addition, children are able to tune in better to their fullness or hunger cues when they have breaks in between meals.

Scheduling meals also aids digestion, improves metabolism, and ensures adequate nutrient intake. 

Be a Good Example

Children emulate behaviors and habits from their parents, including eating habits.

As a parent, your eating habits can significantly impact your child's food choices; thus, to make your child eat healthily, it is important to be a good role model they can follow.

For one, you can limit the number of takeouts you order and cook more at home.

Balancing work and family can be difficult, making it tempting to order takeaways now and then.

However, you must realize your child's food intake matters, and their eating habits can rely on the examples you give.

Also, you must develop a healthy relationship with food.

Following strict diets, erratic eating habits, or binge eating will only encourage your child to do the same.

Ensure you eat in controlled portions, stop when you're full, and avoid eating for pleasure or comfort.

Likewise, you can imbibe the habit of being physically active in your child by doing the same.

While smart food choices are great, they become even better for the body when coupled with exercise or physical activities.

Conclusion

It is essential to support your child to develop healthy eating habits from a younger age.

Children have a lot to gain from eating healthy, including stabilizing their energy, helping them maintain a healthy weight, strengthening immune function, aiding development, and improving brain functions and mental well-being.

Tips to make your child eat healthily includes offering multiple healthy food options, allowing them to indulge, being a good example, scheduling meals and snacks, and playing with food. 

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