To help your fussy eater warm up to healthy foods, sometimes you need to look no further than the closest mirror.
Similar to any other aspect of parenting to create good habits in children – like learning about finances, safety, manners, education, etc. – mom and dad need to be good role models when it comes to healthy eating, especially if they seek to change unhealthy behavior. When it comes to getting the children to eat healthy, parents need to be creative, patient, and aware of the tone that they set, as well as their own attitudes about food.
Healthy eating habits are so important for children to learn from parents and at home, especially to combat negative outside influences at school, in advertisements and on television. The earlier a child learns healthy eating habits, the less likely they are to become overweight or obese, both which can lead to lifelong cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, among others. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that parents can guide healthy eating with their children:
We know feeding a picky eater can be frustrating. They can tell instantly if you replaced their chicken with turkey and ketchup with actual tomatoes. So by creating a fun environment for eating, it sets the tone and puts food choice back in their hands. We wrote in July that examples of this fun attitude include calling broccoli “dinosaur food.”
Studies show that families who sit down at the table and eat together for dinner mean those children are more likely to regularly choose to eat fruits, vegetables and grains, while also being less likely to snack on junk food in between meals.
Families who shop, cook and eat together also have the opportunity for children to be more active in choosing what foods are included in the meal, how to prepare them and what nutritional benefits those foods provide. Parents are encouraged to make children a key part of the whole meal preparation process, which will provide them with more nutritional education and lifelong healthy habits.