Have you ever wished that you had a magic wand that you could wave that would make your kids eat better? Grade-schoolers fall in a wide spectrum when it comes to healthy eating and their food choices. Some may still be picky eaters while others have learned to eat anything that is put in front of them. It really makes no difference what kind of eating habits your children have developed because you can change their preferences and attitudes toward food by giving them the right guidance toward healthy eating habits. Here are a few helpful tips to help you accomplish this.
One of the first things that you can do is to take your child grocery shopping with you. Make sure to fill your cart with lots of fresh produce and not too many processed foods. You can make this fun for your child by making a game out of the different colors of fruits and vegetables. Try to plan ahead on your meals for the upcoming week such as a stir fry (green broccoli, yellow and red peppers, orange carrots, and so on. This way, it will not be boring for your child.
Another good idea is to let your kids help you cook . Regardless of their age, children can always do something to help you out in the kitchen. They may be too young to cut up vegetables, but they can certainly help tear up lettuce for a salad or put bread in the basket. Your older children can stir sauces and measure out ingredients for recipes. This is an excellent way for them to learn how to cook themselves so when they become teens, they can be more self-sufficient.
Make sure that you do not put too much focus on the amount that your child eats. There will be times when he will clean everything off his plate and other times when he will leave food on it. This is normal behavior for a growing grade school child . Do not make him feel guilty for not eating all of his food . If this happens often, cut down on the portions that you give him and give him more if needed .
Teach your children to snack wisely. If they have had a snack before a meal, chances are they are not going to be hungry even if it is one of their favorite dishes being served . A good rule of thumb is to not let them snack at least an hour before dinner . If you do give them a snack, give them something light such as baby carrots or apple slices that will not spoil their meal.
Also, make sure that you do not use bribes to make your children eat. It is not a good idea to tell them that if they do not finish their meal there will be no tv or video games because this can create an uneasy relationship with food in your child’s mind. Instead of trying to pressure your child into eating, give him choices that are more likely to go down easier.
Limit the amount of processed foods that your child eats that are high in sugar and calories. This will work much better than putting a complete ban on the junk foods because if you do that, your child is more than likely to over indulge in sugary foods when they are away from you. Let them have a piece of candy or chocolate once in a while and if they have a craving for something sweet more often, try to get them interested in healthy snacks such as nuts with raisins the rest of the time.
The most important thing that you can do to encourage healthy eating for your children is to set a good example in front of them. If you ban your children from drinking soda and you guzzle it down every night in front of them, you are sending them a mixed message . Make sure that you maintain a good attitude toward food and think of new creative ways to eat healthy and hopefully your children will be more likely to follow in your footsteps.
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