9 Tips for Encouraging Healthy and Good Eating Habits in Kids
Help your child learn some good eating habits.
“Can I have some candy, Mommy?”
You likely hear this question from your kids more often than you’d like. And as much as you’d like to treat your kids from time to time, you’re determined to help them live a healthy and happy life.
Removing unhealthy and processed foods from your home is one way to encourage good eating habits in kids; however, you can include a slew of other tools in your arsenal as well.
Here’s a rundown of our top 9 tips for encouraging healthy and good eating habits in kids this spring.
1. Model good eating.
One of the best steps you can take to encourage good eating in your kids is to show them how to eat a balanced diet. For instance, be sure to incorporate whole grains, vegetables, and fruits with your snacks and meals. And let your kids witness you eating raw vegetables and enjoying them.
In fact, take your kids shopping with you to show them what kinds of foods to stick with versus what foods to avoid. And try to reward your kids with attention, like kisses and hugs, instead of with sweet treats.
2. Remove unhealthy and processed foods from your home.
Rather than springing for potato chips and other processed items, try to snack on healthier yet just-as-tasty alternatives. For example, instead of eating bacon, which contains high amounts of sodium, try avocado. Avocado is a great source of protein and healthy fats. In addition, it offers the type of hearty and rich flavor that bacon provides.
3. Let them help cook.
Allowing your kids to be your sous-chefs is a great way to encourage them to eat healthy. Why?
Because they get to learn which foods are truly healthy and which ones aren’t. Plus, cooking with the kids gives them the opportunity to try brand new food items they otherwise may not have tried.
On top of this, cooking with your kids encourages them to keep eating at home rather than eating out, which usually isn’t a healthy option.
4. Start a little garden with your kids.
By starting a small garden with the kids, you can teach your children how vegetables are produced from seeds firsthand. Therefore, rather than resisting vegetables at dinnertime, they may actually be excited to eat them. After all, they’ll be proud to have been a part of the process of generating those vegetables. And they’ll naturally want to start taste-testing the crops they worked to produce.
In fact, encourage your children to sample vegetables directly from the garden. Then, let the kids help you prepare them in your kitchen. Certain vegetables just may become their new favorite snack.
5. Stick to water.
Encouraging your children to drink plenty of water is another way to make sure they stay healthy. The best way to achieve this is to minimize the number of sugary drinks you bring in the house, as well as encourage everyone to drink water with their meals.
Water benefits your children’s bodies by keeping them energized and boosting the health of their skin. Sufficient water intake will also help improve their digestion and, thus, their overall well-being. As a general rule of thumb, your kids should drink four eight-ounce cups of water if they are four years old, five cups if they are five, and so on. Once your kids reach nine years of age, though, just eight cups of water will do each day.
6. Don’t push too hard, just repeatedly offer healthy foods.
This is especially important because if you push your children too hard to eat healthy foods, they can develop negative feelings, such as humiliation, confusion, disgust, fear, and anger. After all, they may feel helpless and as though they lack control.
Years later, your children may actually resist eating the foods you pushed them to eat simply because of their negative associations with them, so encourage them to try healthy foods repeatedly while making them feel in control of the situation as much as possible.
7. Limit screen time.
Try to keep your kids from taking in too much screen time each day. This is important because the light that is emitted from their screens can interrupt their sleep cycles and result in insomnia. It may also lead to behavioral problems.
When your kids are actually on their tablets, encourage them to use an app like Freetime from Amazon, which is filled with a number of kid-friendly educational resources.
8. Get up and play with them.
Another excellent way to encourage your kids to live healthy lives is to get active with them.
By playing sports and games with them, you show them that exercising can be fun. And you help them associate good memories with exercise in the future.
9. Have a full dental care routine.
Finally, make sure you have a full dental care routine for your kids before bedtime.
For instance, take time to show them how to brush their teeth and floss every night. This is critical because good oral health will have a positive impact on their overall health and self-confidence in the years ahead.
How We Can Help
In addition to showing you how to encourage good eating in your kids, we provide first-rate dental care services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are available to handle your dental emergencies. In addition, we can schedule a future routine cleaning or treatment, such as an oral surgery or a restorative procedure (like dentures).
Please call us for any dental-related questions or emergencies, and remember that we’re here for you and miss your beautiful smiles!