Healthy eating is something that is important for everyone in order to enjoy a long and fulfilled life. This is why it is so crucial to instil good eating habits in your kids from a young age.
It’s no secret that it can be incredibly difficult to encourage children to eat something they don’t want to eat and that makes healthy eating a bit of a challenge. However, there are ways around this and it is possible to get your family to eat a healthy and nutritious diet, such as one comprised of low carb dishes.
Here are some easy ways to encourage your family to eat a balanced and healthy diet.
Kids learn by example, especially if they are young. As a parent, you are their main influence and therefore they will do as you do – so try to keep using spirits as an ingredient to a minimum!
A mistake that many parents make is letting their preferences have an impact on their children. Oftentimes, parents avoid serving their children vegetables or foods that they don’t like – simply because the parents also don’t like them. But the truth is you never know what your children will like until you offer it to them.
It is important not to restrict the diet of your family just because you don’t enjoy certain foods. The more nutritious and healthy foods your kids like, the better! Make sure you are giving them as many options as possible.
Children are often very quick to reject new things; this is no different when it comes to food. But this doesn’t mean that you should give up. Parenting takes a lot of patience and trying things several times before admitting defeat.
So, if your child snubs a certain food, try reintroducing it in a different way. Experts suggest that you try the rejected food ten times before taking it off the menu entirely.
The plate rule
Introducing new meals or a new routine usually doesn’t go down very well with kids. Children will often only like what they are already used to and reject anything else. This makes changing the family diet difficult.
However, eating healthier doesn’t always have to be a major change. Whilst you may want to try out some new dishes, you can still make some old favourites. The best way of improving the nutritional value of some of your favourite meals is by remembering the plate rule.
The plate rule refers to how your plate is divided up and how much of each item is on your plate. For healthy eating, half of your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots and leafy greens.
A quarter of the plate should be comprised of unrefined carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, beans and whole grains. The last quarter should be filled with protein, such as chicken, fish, lean beef and pork.
Stock up on fruit and healthy snacks
Kids are big snack fans and like to graze throughout the day. This is only really an issue if your children are snacking on the wrong foods, like chocolate, chips and other unhealthy treats.
In reality, snacking can actually be a great way to introduce healthy eating to children. But how do you encourage them to choose the healthy option instead of the unhealthy alternatives?
This is really simple, just stock up on plenty of healthy snacks that are easy to pick up and eat. Your family is more likely to pick up healthy snacks if they are right there in front of them. Make sure you have fruit and vegetables on full display in your kitchen. Some great things for your kids to snack on are:
To help with this, make sure you stop buying unhealthy snacks or at least keep them hidden away from arms reach. The less your kids see unhealthy options in the house, the less they will crave them.
Don’t eat in front of the TV
Having regular meal times and eating as a family is not only beneficial for your relationships, but it is also beneficial for your overall health. However, eating in front of the television doesn’t count. In fact, the >bad habit of TV dinners is one that you should try to break.
When you and your family are paying attention to the screen, you aren’t paying attention to what you’re eating. This prevents you from not only enjoying the food, but it also encourages you to eat more because your body isn’t registering what it’s consuming.
Eating around the table gives you the opportunity to focus on your meal, and also gives your children the chance to ask questions about what they are eating. Making meal times a focus of the day will instil a love of healthy eating in your children from a young age.
Use smaller plates
It may not have even occurred to you, but the size of your plate actually has an impact on how much you and your family consume. Studies have shown that the bigger the plate, the more you eat.
A bigger plate will make the serving you have seem smaller, and vice versa. This means that with a smaller plate you can trick your brain into thinking it is getting a bigger meal, reducing the likelihood of you seeking out something extra.