Food is one of the most important things we use to keep us healthy. When used properly, it can make us pretty happy too. If we spend all of our time eating junk food, we’re going to feel rubbish. The food might taste good at first, but afterward, you can bet you’re going to feel sluggish and gross. If we eat whole, natural foods most of the time, we’re going to feel far more energized and happy. This doesn’t mean you only eat ‘rabbit food’ and starve. It means you eat enough of the right foods. Here are some tips you can use to keep your family healthy and happy with food!
Don’t Call Your Kids Fussy Eaters
By calling your kids fussy eaters, you’re giving them a label that they might just try and stick to in the future. Labeling your kids isn’t good for them, so don’t call them fussy to their faces or behind their backs. In fact, the more pressure you put on them when they don’t want to try a food or eat their dinner, the more they’ll probably fight back. Usually, being relaxed about it and not putting too much focus on them will make them more willing to try something new.
Plan Your Meals In Advance
Don’t just throw something random together with what you can find in the kitchen. Instead, make sure you plan your meals in advance. You could plan half the week's meals to start with if that makes it easier. However, planning the whole week will also give you a good idea of what you need to get with your food shopping. You won’t need to run backward and forwards to the supermarket anymore, so you can actually save a lot of money and avoid waste when you decide to do this.
Make Eating Fruit And Veg Fun
Eating fruit and vegetables is really important for the health of your kids, so make it fun. Try picking something new out together and find a good way to cook it online. Getting your kids involved in this will make trying new foods a fun game, and even if they don’t like something, at least they tried it!
You could also try to give it a fun name. For example, broccoli is really healthy but many kids would prefer not to eat it. See if your kids start eating it once you start calling it ‘mini trees’ or something to that effect! Even if your kids haven’t eaten something in the past, doesn’t mean they won’t feel like trying it in future. You could still try to put a tiny amount on their plate or give them the option to try it when you’re cooking. Just make sure you don’t put too much pressure on them.
Always Choose Whole Grains
Always choose whole grains as they are much healthier options. For instance, brown rice over white rice, popcorn, oatmeal, and similar items are great. They are filling and can be used in a variety of meals. Popcorn can make a healthy snack that kids love, as long as you go with a version without too much butter or salt. Remember, keeping portion sizes under control is also important!
Always Read Nutritional Labels
Learn how to read nutritional labels if you don’t know how already. This will enable you to identify things on the Unsafe Foods list as well as things that you should all be eating. As a rule, the less ingredients in the food the better. It’s always better to cook meals fresh with whole ingredients than it is to have microwave meals.
Set A Good Example
Make sure you’re setting a good example for the rest of your family. It’s all well and good telling them that you want them to eat their vegetables, but if you’re not eating it, they’re going to pay more attention to that. Make sure you do what you want them to do. Even if you don’t think they’re paying that much attention, they will pick up on it. Kids learn more from their parents while they’re young than you think!
Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
Always keep healthy snacks on hand so that you don’t feel the need to give your kids too much chocolate or unhealthy snacks. Chopped up veg and hummus make a great snack, as donuts. You could even make some of your own healthy snacks, such as oat bars with dark chocolate. This will satisfy a sweet craving but include only healthy ingredients.
Don’t Stockpile Junk Food
So many homes stockpile junk, and because kids know it’s there they want to eat it. Do everybody a favor and stop buying things like biscuits, chocolate, crisps, and other unhealthy snacks. You should be teaching your kids balance, not perfection, so of course, you can let them have these things occasionally. However, keeping them in the house at all times will definitely reinforce some unhealthy habits.
Make Smoothies And Juices
How about making smoothies and juices to up fruit and veg intake? They can make tasty breakfasts and snacks, not to mention they are so much healthier than what you’ll buy in the supermarket! Kids will love these; you could even freeze them to make a tasty ice pop on a hot day. They can make a bit of a mess, but that’s why kids will love making them with you!
Get Your Kids In The Kitchen With You
Getting your kids in the kitchen with you can make food far more interesting. Your kids will feel more inclined to eat something healthy if they helped you to prepare it. You’ll be teaching them different lessons and skills for later on in life too! Get them in the kitchen with you at every opportunity. Make sure you only give them tasks that they are able to do and don’t leave them unsupervised. They might just develop a love for cooking this way!
Make Dinner A Ritual
Making dinner a ritual is another great habit you can teach your kids. This will probably be something they choose to stick with even when they have their own children! Sit down at the dinner table at a similar time each night. Make sure there’s no phones or TV; this is all about spending some quality time together enjoying a healthy meal. Make it a rule that everyone has to share a good thing that happened that day. Maybe something that made them smile or laugh, even something that made them proud. Ensure everybody comes up with something, no matter how small. Sharing good things at the dinner table will make everybody happier and can make a dull day seem brighter in an instant!
Forget The Clean Plate Rule
You’ve probably heard of the clean plate rule. Maybe it was instilled in your household. However, it’s not the healthiest way of getting your kids to listen to their natural hunger cues. Your kids need to pay attention to when they are hungry and full. If they are forced to eat everything on their plate, it’s going to confuse their natural responses, and it could turn into an unhealthy habit as they grow up. Make sure they have some water to drink with their dinner too! Sometimes, it’s easy to confuse thirst for hunger. Encouraging water consumption is a great habit to get into!
Educate Your Kids
Educating your kids as to why you eat the way you do is really important. Now, bear in mind you should never say anything like ‘we don’t eat this because it makes us fat’. That’s just asking for trouble. A child’s brain is like a sponge, so saying things like that can cause all kinds of problems. Instead, explain why certain choices are healthier, and why it’s best to go for them most of the time. They don’t need huge explanations but giving them a brief idea will definitely set them up for a healthier future.
Find Healthy Ways To Make Your Favorites
Your family might love pizza, burgers, or some other not necessarily healthy food. Why not find healthier ways to make your favorites? You could make your own pizza on wraps and flatbreads. You could make your own burgers from scratch. Doing this with ingredients you’ve bought yourself will likely be cheaper and so much better for everyone. This will allow you to cut back on takeout. Having a takeout every once in awhile is fine, but doing it too often is expensive and no good for your body.
Use these tips as often as possible and you’ll find it so easy to keep your family healthy and happy with food. All it takes is getting a little organized and getting your kids into good habits while they’re young. If you still struggle with a child who won’t try anything new, you could potentially look into getting help from a professional. Don’t resign yourself to that yet though; use these tips and see how you get on!
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