As pediatric obesity continues to rise in the United States, it’s more apparent than ever these days that one of the most important things a parent can do for their child is to raise them in an environment that encourages healthy eating. But, as any parent will tell you, with fast food, cheap snacks, and the constant allure of sugary drinks and candy tempting your child at every turn, teaching your kid to eat healthy can be a truly daunting task.
If you are a parent who wants to teach their child how to eat for health, utilizing the following tips will ensure that a kid learns how to eat intuitively for long-term health.
Get Your Kids Involved in Meals
According to registered dietitian, Jessika Brown, involving your kids in meal preparation is a great way to promote intuitive eating. “Creating a curiosity-based approach to eating, instead of a shame-based one, creates a platform for healthy eating that will extend into adulthood.”
Brown believes one great way to boost a child’s curiosity about food is to involve them in the meal-making or meal-planning process. Allowing a child to plan or make their meals is an excellent way to educate them on what foods are healthy, and which foods aren’t healthy.
Similarly, taking kids grocery shopping is an ideal way to teach them how to read nutrition labels so that they can learn to identify what foods and food products will allow them to eat in a balanced manner.
Don’t Battle With Kids Over Food
If your child is a notoriously picky eater, family dinnertime can oftentimes seem like a battlefield. On one side, the parent demands or urges their child to eat their dinner, while on the other side, the child refuses to eat because they don’t like what’s on their plate.
Interestingly, dietitians believe that the best way to build healthy eating habits in children is not to fight over food. Instead of forcing children to clean their plates, for example, nutritionists recommend adjusting portion sizes so that kids do not feel like they are eating too much.
Keep Only Healthy Foods in the House
Similarly, parents can do a great service to their children by only stocking healthy foods in their house. After all, parents control what kinds of food their children have access to, and so ensuring that there are limited amounts of cookies, sugary sodas, or salty chips around will force children to intuitively choose healthier food options throughout the day.