When it comes to eating healthy and raising kids who eat healthy it can be difficult. Because in realty it has nothing to do with food. I know it sounds funny but it really it’s the truth. It does not have anything to do with if they are not eating enough vegetables, or if they are eating too much sugar.
Raising healthy eaters is all about the relationships we build with food.
Think about it… how many times have you been told that ice cream is a “bad” food? I know I have been told many times that it was bad for me. But what do we do when something is bad for us? Want more of it. Just like anything else that we are told are bad for us we still want more.
Our jobs as parents is to build and encourage healthy relationships between our child and food.
The relationship can start at the beginning stages when we first introduce our kids to food. The way we approach introducing them to different foods. We can avoid giving to many foods with sugar and introduce more whole foods such as vegetables and proteins.
Here are 5 Easy Ways to Raise a Healthy Eater
- Lead by Example – Yes that’s right. The best way I have been able to teach my kids about eating healthy is by showing them that I eat healthy. I think this is the most important way. Kids look up to their parents as idols. So be that role model and show the healthy relationship you have with food. Explore new foods together.
- Food should not be used as a reward or punishment. I know this is a touchy one, but really think about the relationship that creates between a child and food. Food is part of most if not all celebrations with family, friends, and at school. I get it but we should not equate food to happiness or vice versus. It should not be used to punish a child, because then it gives food a negative vibe. Both situations tie in with emotions.
- Allow them to assist in cooking and preparing food. As kids get older it is important to let them be part of the process. Helping in the kitchen to prepare meals gives them some ownership and excitement to eat the food.
- Educate! As the kids get older allow them to research different foods, their benefits, and ingredients. This is really helpful when they have to make their own decision on what to eat and not.
- Understanding the food is not the enemy. This is the most important tip. Food should be used as a tool and to fuel the body. No negative statements about food should be used. Focus on the good things food provides.
Raising healthy eaters can be challenging in the beginning if parents have not established a healthy relationship with food. It is important to understand the importance of the benefits physically, socially, and mentally.
Parents can pass down a healthy relationship with food to their kids.