This is a Guest Post submitted by Anna Smith. With an unparalleled passion for health and beauty, Anna Smith, a skin infection professional loves to share tips and tricks and her experience on the same.
Any young mom would swear by the fact that one of the most difficult tasks is to make kids eat healthy food. Since the crib, today’s youth are exposed to junk foods, sweets and food severely lacking nutrition. It becomes a humongous challenge to convince them to eat other things, especially considering the unhealthy stuff is incredibly delicious for them. Not only are the early years the most crucial in the child’s physical and mental development, but the food habits nurtured in this age range tend to last long into adulthood. Being careful about certain things, paying attention to the kids’ taste and administering a healthy diet regime can help your kid eat better but would also contribute to them developing healthy food habits for life.
1. Make the food interesting: We had Popeye the Sailor Man to convince us that spinach is the best possible food on Earth. Our kids don’t. How can you convince them to eat the boring broccoli and sadistic soy when they have such delicious colorful foods to choose from? The key here is to make the regular food interesting. This may take a little effort on your part, but dig for recipes that specially aim at making vegetables palatable for kids. Play around with colors and shapes to make the food seem interesting. Try to boil a few veggies together, then mash them up and make a soup. Add a few herbs and sauces to make it tasty. Take help of all sorts of dips- salsa, hummus, and yogurt based etc. to introduce vegetables in a yummy way. (photo credit here)
2. Use games and activities that involve food: The way my mother used to make me eat all the undesirable vegetables and pulses was to make me compete with my sibling. Let the kids compete as to who finishes the meal first. In the want of being the winner, they’ll probably overlook what they are being served.
3. Give incentives to kids for eating good: When they finish a particularly tricky meal, let them have their favorite sweet as a reward. Appreciate them when they finish the complete bowl of veggies or fruits. Compliment them in front of friends and relatives to heighten the effect of the praise and they’ll definitely be more enthusiastic about eating healthy food. (photo credit here)
4. Go the grandma way- introduce stories and fairytales for the tiny ones: With iPads and smartphones taking over fairytale books, kids are farther from the magical world than ever. Introduce them to your favorite stories. Narrate the story in a dramatic manner and engage them while you make them eat the veggies along with the story.
5. Involve kids in cooking and shopping for the groceries: Let them help a little. Give them tasks they can handle and make their participation count. Do not snub if they make a mistake. When they’re involved in the preparation, they’re more inclined to eat what they’ve worked hard on.
6. Don’t completely exclude less healthy food: This will make them crave it more. Fix a day in a month, or every 20 days, when kids get to eat their favorite food–no matter what it is. Remember, do not nag about the choice. Keep your promise when they are keeping theirs and respect their choice. Once in a while, it will not harm.
7. Make sure that everybody is being served the same food on the table: Making separate meals for the elders is not a good practice. Not only is it more hectic for you, but the kids won’t be too interested in their food after seeing yours. Kids imitate elders, so it would be easier to make them eat healthy food if the parents eat the same food. (photo credit here)
8. Not all marketing gimmicks are shams. The funny shaped cereal is a great innovation. Buy kids the cereal of a shape and color they love the most. Just make sure the colors are made naturally!
9. Don’t be too critical if the kids aren’t easily adapting to health foods: Don’t crib and complain all the time. Set an example before them by eating good food rather than ordering them to ‘eat their veggies.’ Also, remember never, ever criticize or scold the kids in front of friends, relatives, and strangers or in public. If you need to correct them, do it when you’re alone with them.
10. Tell them honestly the terrible side effects of junk food and soda: Tell them that this food won’t make them strong or pretty. Tell them what the highly processed foods, loaded with chemicals, synthetic fats, additives, artificial sweeteners, and food colorings can do to their bodies.