By Rishu Gandhi
Developing healthy eating habits among children is one of the best things parents can do for their children. Eating habits that are urbanised during childhood continue through adolescence as well as adulthood. Parents as children’s foremost role models play an important part in cultivating robust eating patterns. In this article, we will explore the top five things parents can adopt to ensure that their children learn about the importance of eating the right food.
1 Fix your meal eating timings
While eating healthy food is essential, eating food on time and within a recommended duration is very important as well. Irrespective of various factors, including work schedule, mood swings, etc, parents need to fix the timings to consume meals and snacks to bring in discipline. Irregular meal consumption patterns can adversely impact a child’s perspective on food and health. They may, then, tend to overeat or avoid eating certain foods or develop irregular eating habits.
2 A variety of food items must be served
As parents, we all want our children to eat right to stay healthy. However, a child is inclined to eat foods that “taste” good to him or her. Many parents across the globe try different techniques to make their children eat food that is healthy but not tasty, according to the children. The best way you can make your child eat a portion of healthy, not-so-tasty food is to reduce the quantity of the food and couple it with the food they like the most. Let them enjoy the meal without any apparent pressure to choose the food but focus on the fact that nothing is left behind in the plate.
3 Turn off the television
When children are not paying attention to their food while eating they will never learn to appreciate the food and nor will they feel satiated. Human brains can ideally focus on one thing at a time, as entertainment is supposed to take all of our focus eating food then becomes only a mechanical task. Moreover, when children are not focusing on the food while eating, they may end up eating more as compared to what their bodies can take without realising anything due to lack of attention.
4 Eat together
Instead of focusing on annual vacations or movie time as “family time”, families must focus on meal times as “family time”. Eating together will not only allow your child to appreciate the food with complete attention but will also enable the child to witness many other habits such as respecting food, how to use multiple utensils or how to eat with cleanliness and more. Also, numerous studies point at the fact that children who eat meals with their families tend to eat healthier food.
5 Make healthy, homemade snacks
While there is no shortage of snacks and even “healthy” snacks commercially sold in the stores nearby our homes, nothing can beat the nutritious snacks that can be prepared at home, which are both tasty and healthy. Adding kids cooking oil or something equally nutritious like honey, milk, etc, will help to increase the nutrient quotient of the snack.
Creating a positive eating environment rests with parents during the early childhood of their children, and they must leverage this golden phase to make a lifelong impact on children’s health.
(The writer is Founder and Head Brand Strategist of Mother Sparsh.)
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