By Natasha O`Dea
Feeding your child healthy and nutritious meals is every parent’s intention, but sometimes this can be a battle. When children start to find their independence, they begin to resist the healthy choices you make for them. The following simple steps can help to gently encourage children to have good eating habits.
* Get kids in the kitchen. Children love to help prepare meals. Give them simple jobs such as cutting up a banana or strawberries for a fruit salad.
* Plan a meal with your child. Allow your child to plan a healthy meal and help write up a shopping list. They can then help to shop and prepare for the meal.
* Introduce new foods on a regular basis. It is easy to get stuck with the same food routine. Introducing new foods will teach children about the wide variety of foods available.
* Always encourage children to try new foods. Don’t expect a child to instantly like a new food, but ask them to at least try it. It may take several attempts for a child to accept a new food. Start with small amounts at first and slowly increase as they acquire the taste.
* Visit a fresh food market. Markets are a wonderful place to see, smell and taste a huge range of different foods.
* Eat dinner at the dining table. Most families lead very busy lives and often end up eating dinner in front of the television. Sitting together at the dining table will help children to appreciate the importance of a family meal.
* Plant a vegetable garden. Encourage children to participate in the planting and caring of a vegetable garden. This will not only teach them about how vegetables are grown but will also encourage them to eat their own home grown produce.
* Talk about the importance of a healthy body. It’s important for children to understand why they need to eat healthy food. Discuss with your child the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables and how it will make their body strong to help fight off illness.
Gentle encouragement with simple ideas like these will help instil a good attitude towards healthy food. It is impractical to assume that children can be kept entirely away from unhealthy alternatives, but keeping those to a minimum will set a good foundation for years to come. It may not be instantaneous, but persistence and patience will eventually pay dividends.