How to Get Kids interested in Healthy Eating

On October 22, 2011 by Editor

As a parent, you might feel that you’re fighting a losing battle when it comes to getting your kids to eat healthily. With all the commercials for treats and snacks, the shops filled with unhealthy treats on convenient kid height shelves, and fast food restaurants in every mall and suburb, it really is tricky to make sure they understand the concept of healthy eating.

Computer games, television and other sedentary activities don’t help the cause either. Kids become

Slum children at the Food for Life School in V...

Image via Wikipedia

accustomed to getting home school and sitting playing consoles, or checking out their emails and updates on social networking site. There’s less emphasis on outdoor activities and less impetus for them to engage in them. All this is bad for their health and well-being but there’s plenty you can do to encourage your kids to take an interest in good food and nutrition.

Cook with your kids

Children will learn a lot more about food and diet if you let them join you in the kitchen. Here, you can explain the different ingredients, talk about where they come from and about their health-giving properties. If a young kid knows that they favorite athlete eats lots of fish and chicken to stay healthy, they’re more likely to do the same. If they understand that green vegetables are good for them, they might be more likely to try them. And they’ll be even more likely to try new things if they’ve helped to prepare the meal. Kids love peeling, chopping and mixing and there’s a real sense of achievement when they see the finished dish that they have helped to create.

Take them shopping

Whilst many parents hate the idea of taking little kids to the supermarket, as they get older, it can be actually be an educational experience. You could give them their own shopping list and let them find and choose the items. This is a great way for kids to familiarise themselves with different fruit, vegetables and other ingredients. They realise that a finished meal doesn’t just miraculously appear on the table – it starts with choosing the ingredients. This will also encourage them to leave the television and the sofa for a while and you might even get them to go with you to the lane furniture sale.

Let them choose dinner

Pick one day a week where they can choose what the family has for dinner. You could include some requirements such as at least two vegetables and some rice or pasta, to get them to focus on health, balanced meals. Take them shopping for their ingredients, help them cook the meal and let them serve it to the family.

Visit farm shops and allotments

If you have access to a good local market or farm shop, take your kids there to do the shopping. This will give them more of an understanding about where food comes from and will bring them closer to the source of their food. Show them unusual ingredients that they might not have come across before and try to incorporate something new into a meal you have planned.

Food of the world

Another way to get kids in the kitchen is to plan a weekly international evening. It’s a fun way to get the family to eat together and to get the kids involved in planning and preparing the menu. It could coincide with school projects or holidays, to give children a greater insight into other countries and cultures and it will introduce them to a lot of new ingredients and flavors.

Don’t ban treats

If you completely ban soft drinks and treats, children will crave them more, or go mad for chocolate when they’re out of your sight, at birthday parties or play dates. Explain to them that treats are for special occasions, they are foods that might taste good but they’re not healthy. If treats are included in the diet occasionally, children will view them as a treat and not as an everyday food choice. If you switch the cake or biscuit your kids have for pudding to a yogurt or a piece of fruit, they will be just as satisfied. Grapes, berries and chopped fruit are just as much of a sweet treat as a bag of chocolate – and so much healthier.

 


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