Many of the habits that kids learn at an early age will shape their personality and behavior in the future. These habits will affect their overall health and their growth and development in various ways as well. Because of this, it is important for parents to inculcate the right habits in their children so they never get the chance to develop wrong, unhealthy ones.
As a parent, you have the important job of helping your little ones develop healthy eating habits for kids. When you teach your kids the benefits of eating nutritious food and how to eat right, they will more likely have a positive attitude towards food as they grow older. More importantly, you will help them stay fit and stay on track in terms of their growth and development.
Below are six healthy eating habits you should teach your children as early as possible:
Never skipping the most important meal of the day is a healthy habit that your kids should develop at an early age.
Aside from preparing a well-balanced breakfast every day, take the time to explain to them the importance of eating it daily. Some of the key points your kids have to know about breakfast are:
- It gives them the energy they need to start the day right and go through the early activities.
- It jump-starts their brains.
- It can help keep them strong and healthy.
- It lowers their risk for certain diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
Buying natural fresh foods
Your kids also have to know the importance of buying natural foods free from preservatives and other harmful chemical additives.
With most supermarkets packed with junk food, canned goods, and other processed food products, your kids should know to steer away from or minimize their consumption of these products. You can do this by teaching them that natural foods are more nutritious and that eating processed ones is unhealthy for the body.
As such, whenever you are at the supermarket with your kids, get more items from the fresh or organic section. While in this area, educate them about the benefits of eating the fruits and vegetables on display. If they are not familiar with certain produce, tell them what they taste like and how they are best eaten or cooked.
Bring your kids to a farmers’ market regularly as well. By doing so, you will help them learn more about organic foods. Additionally, you will instill in them the value of supporting local farmers and products.
Cooking homemade meals
Homemade meals will always be healthier than the ones served in restaurants. This is because when you cook at home, you are sure you will be using fresh ingredients. You will also be able to control the amount of oil, butter, salt, and sugar you will add to the dish. You can even deviate from the recipe you are following and use healthier ingredients.
Since home-cooked meals are healthier, your kids need to know this at an early age. You can also help them develop the habit of cooking even when they are young by letting them help in the kitchen.
Allow the younger kids to help you in peeling fruits and vegetables by hand, and with stirring and pouring. Let the older kids measure ingredients, and supervise them as they use some kitchen equipment such as the garlic press or blender.
Eating colorful foods
Your kids also need to know that eating foods of different colors has many health benefits. As such, they need to learn the habit of eating a variety of colorful foods daily.
This simply means they have to make eating different fruits and vegetables of different hues a habit. Whether cooked or fresh, their meals and snacks should incorporate a rainbow of colors every day.
This is also an important concept you have to follow when introducing solids to your baby.
Introduce to your kids the importance of drinking water after eating and regularly throughout the day.
Make sure your kids know how unhealthy drinking sodas and artificial fruit juices is. When they drink these sugary beverages often, they will increase their intake of calories which can lead to weight problems. Overconsumption of sugar can cause diabetes as well.
Once they are aware of the unhealthy consequences of drinking sugary and artificially flavored beverages, they will have no problems making drinking water a habit.
Making mealtimes family time
Finally, joining family meals is another important habit that your kids need to develop at an early age. This is because when the whole family is present at the table during mealtimes, they can:
- Have opportunities for family bonding
- Communicate better and more openly
- Eat well-balanced meals
- Be at lesser risk for obesity
As soon as your child is open to learning, start teaching him or her the healthy eating habits listed above. You (and your child) will be thankful that you did.