Are your children often reaching for sugary snacks or resisting their vegetables? Do you find it challenging to establish healthy eating habits at home? As a parent, you play a vital role in shaping your child’s healthy eating food habits and overall well-being. In this blog, we’ll explore the techniques and foods that can help you guide your children towards a lifetime of nutritious and balanced eating.
Also check: Kid’s Nutrition: 5 Reasons For Poor Nutrition
Why Healthy Eating Food Habits Matter?
Before delving into the techniques and food choices that can encourage healthy eating, let’s understand why this is so important. Developing healthy eating habits in childhood is critical for several reasons:
- Growth and Development: Proper nutrition is essential for your child’s physical and cognitive development.
- Energy and Concentration: Good nutrition fuels your child’s energy levels and helps them concentrate better in school and other activities.
- Preventing Health Issues: Healthy eating can reduce the risk of childhood obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.
Techniques to encourage healthy eating FOOD habits for kids:
1. Lead by Example:
Children often emulate the behaviours they observe in their parents and caregivers. If they see you making healthy food choices and enjoying nutritious meals, they are more likely to do the same. Be a positive role model by consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. This sets the tone for a household where healthy eating is the norm.
2. Create a Positive Eating Environment:
Make mealtimes a pleasant and stress-free experience. Avoid using food as a reward or punishment, as this can create negative associations with certain foods. Create a relaxed atmosphere where your child can focus on enjoying their meal and the company of the family.
3. Involve Your Child in meal preparation:
Allow your child to participate in meal planning and preparation. Take them grocery shopping and let them choose fruits, vegetables, or other healthy items they’d like to eat. When kids are involved in the cooking process, they tend to be more enthusiastic about trying new foods. It’s also an excellent opportunity for them to learn about the nutritional value of different foods. Also check : 12 Ideas For Healthy Snacks That Kids Can Make With You
4. Set a Schedule:
Establish regular meal and snack times. Consistency in meal timing helps regulate your child’s appetite. When they know when to expect food, they are less likely to overeat or indulge in excessive snacking. A routine can also provide a sense of stability and security.
5. Offer a Variety of Foods:
Introduce a wide range of foods into your child’s diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins (like chicken, fish, beans), and whole grains. Variety not only ensures that your child receives a broad spectrum of nutrients but also makes meals more interesting and enjoyable. Try to incorporate different colours, textures, and flavours on their plate.
6. Limit Sugary and Processed Foods:
While occasional treats are perfectly fine, it’s essential to limit the consumption of sugary snacks, candies, and highly processed foods. These items are often low in nutrients and can displace healthier choices in your child’s diet. Reserve them for special occasions and prioritise whole, unprocessed foods for regular meals.
Also check : 15 Healthy Brain Foods To Boost Your Brain
7. Be Patient:
Children can be naturally selective when it comes to food. They may be hesitant to try new things, but this is a common part of their development. Be patient and persistent. Continue to offer healthy options, even if they are initially rejected. It often takes multiple exposures to a new food before a child will accept it. Avoid pressuring your child to eat a specific food, as this can create resistance. Instead, make mealtimes a positive and stress-free experience.
Also check, Food recipes for 1 year old
Healthy fOODS that Provide daily nutrition for KIDS
Bitter gourd is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It contains iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins like A and C. It contains twice the calcium of spinach and beta-carotene of broccoli. Various antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds are present in bitter gourd.
2.Sprouted black chana:
Sprouts are low in calories and rich in fiber, enzymes, protein and other micronutrients. Black Chana contains a wide range of phytochemicals including carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, flavonoids, iron, phosphate, chloride etc
Beetroots are rich in B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium and also contain betalains (a class of antioxidants), that helps in reducing free radicals and inflammation in the body. It helps in proper digestion, boosts immunity and improves blood circulation.
Also check, The role of Probiotics in supporting Gut Health
It is a shrub and an essential herb in ayurvedic medicines. Giloy is used to treat a wide range of health conditions. It contains important plant compounds like terpenoids, alkaloids, lignans, and steroids. Research shows that these compounds have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antidiabetic properties which not only helps in boosting immunity, but Giloy stem can also help improve digestion, reduce constipation, acidity, gas and bloating. It works well for people with a weak digestive system.
Shallaki is rich in carbohydrates and calcium, thus helping in bone growth and improves appetite. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties which help to fight against inflammatory disorders of the digestive tract. Shallaki has cooling, healing, rejuvenating properties and blood purifying properties.
Sendha namak is higher in minerals than table salt. Also known as rock salt, it is unrefined salt. The magnesium and potassium present in rock salt help balance the sodium levels to maintain the body’s natural mineral proportion. Rock salt also contains iodine naturally.
Also, check 11 Proven Foods for Healthy Digestion
7.Sprouted moth bean:
It has highly nutritional content. Rich source of protein, carbohydrates, calcium, Iron, potassium, Magnesium and B vitamins; it should be a part of your daily diet plan. Soaked and sprouted increases its nutritional value and makes it more digestible.
Black pepper is an outstanding source of vitamin K and manganese. Studies show that it is also rich in calcium, Iron, zinc, Copper, Chromium and dietary fiber. Apart from this it contains many health promoting components such as flavonoids, terpenes, tannins and alkaloids.
Rice protein is protein that has been taken from rice. Provides the body with nutrients called amino acids. It helps in muscle strength and muscle soreness and is good for skin and hairs too.
Also, check Understanding Food labels: A guide for parents
Tapioca is a delicious starch extract derived from the cassava plant. High in dietary fiber tapioca helps in digestion and constipation. Fiber bulks up the stool, which may help move it through the digestive tract, thereby eliminating constipation, bloating, and intestinal pain. It is also rich in protein, calcium iron and vitamin K, all of these supports the overall growth of kids.
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are composed of short fructose chains. They are a type of carbohydrate called oligosaccharides. FOS occurs naturally in many plants. They are prebiotic fibers that support the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. FOS is a good source of soluble dietary fiber and has been shown to reduce, or eliminate constipation.
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