Updated: Apr 29
Although there are many benefits to eating healthy, not everyone does it. I’m sure most of us at some point have dreaded eating the vegetables on our dinner plates growing up.
I remember the dread that would come over me when I saw broccoli on my dinner plate as a child. I’d always save my vegetables for last knowing I was only delaying the inevitable! But what if children wanted to eat healthy? What if children looked forward to eating healthy meals and didn’t dread eating the vegetables on their plate. Here are a few steps on how to implement healthy eating habits for your children.
The first step to implementing healthy eating habits for your children is to slowly include healthy foods in their diet. I know, this first step isn’t mind blowing, but it is important. Starting off small by having your child eat at least an apple a day and then a small portion of vegetables in each meal is a great way to implement healthy eating habits for your children. Once your children finish their small portions of vegetables with no problem, increase the portions until they are eating a sufficient amount of vegetables each meal. Remember, you have to learn to walk before you can run! If you put a plate full of vegetables on your child’s plate with a history established of not eating vegetables, you are setting them up for failure.
The second step is to educate your children. If you grew up like I did, whenever your parents or grandparents put vegetables on your plate, they would always tell you to eat them because they were good for you, but never truly explain why. Although you as a parent know that vegetables are good for your children, it is hard for them to accept the words “because they are good for you”, as a valid reason to eat vegetables during the argument at the dinner table. Instead, you should go into detail with your children as to why they should eat the little monsters on their plate. For example, eat your broccoli, it's good for your heart! Eat your carrots, they're good for your eyes! Eat your spinach, it will help you not get sick! Providing your children with this information will help them connect the vegetables they are eating with real world benefits they can understand.
The third step to implement healthy eating habits for your children is to make it fun! This step involves a variety of tips. One of them is to include your children in the process. Bring your children into the kitchen and have them watch you prepare and cook the food! Another tip is to make a variety of meals. Children don’t like consistency in some instances, some adults don’t even like it! Although consistency has its place, eating the same healthy meals everyday is boring! That’s why it is important to switch it up. Make sure your child sees a variety of vegetables throughout the week, hopefully they won’t just see the vegetables! Lastly, sit down and eat vegetables with your child. If you thought you could read this without being held accountable as a parent I’m sorry to disappoint you. It's time to overcome your childhood fears and face eating vegetables as well. Eating healthy meals with your child is a great way to inspire them to eat healthy and is part of the fun. In doing so, you are joining them in their health journey. If you want, you can even agonize in pain as you eat your vegetables with your children as well, whether it be genuine or not.
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