Whether your child is an adventuresome foodie or a picky eater, you can steer him or her toward healthy eating habits.
As parents, we want to give our children the best and the best diet is one of them. Of course, it is not necessarily easy but it is very motivating because as parents you have much more influence on the food preferences of your children than you imagine. In this article we would see how to build healthy eating habits in kids
We develop our preferences and eating habits during childhood. These preferences then determine major food trends for the rest of our lives . Here’s how you can help your kids develop healthy, balanced eating habits that will benefit them all their lives 🙂
Pregnant, Your Child is Already Listening to What You Eat
Studies show that children develop their senses, taste, smell, from the 7 th month of pregnancy. So, what you eat during your pregnancy will have more chance of being accepted by your child once it is born . These tastes will be familiar to his universe. As a mother, pregnancy is often an opportunity to acquire good eating habits because you want to contribute in the most positive way to the healthy development of the fetus. But it is not the only reason ! The foods you eat while pregnant will be more easily accepted by your baby during her lifetime. Now is the perfect time to invest in vegetables and healthy foods!
Breastfeeding is clearly recommended for any mother who has the choice . It’s the perfect way to get all the nutrients your baby needs, so don’t deprive yourself. Of course, breastfeeding can be painful for some mothers and therefore a source of guilt at the idea of not being able to breastfeed. Do the best you can for yourself and your baby. In addition to strengthening the immune system, breastfeeding has the great advantage of continuing to sensitize the baby to tastes. The taste of breast milk varies depending on what the mom eats , so it’s a great way to continue developing baby’s food preferences. Prioritize a vegetable, fresh and diversified diet is the best way to make him like this type of food!
Breastfeeding is recommended for 6 months to 2 years. The ideal would be to achieve at least a year of breastfeeding and then it’s up to you. Each mother has her own availability and above all: zero guilt!
Diversification starts from 4 to 6 months. This is a key moment for your baby: we go from liquid to solid. Several tips can help you:
Avoid giving it refined (white) cereals such as white rice. This will develop his taste for refined products which are very poor from a nutritional point of view.
Prioritize vegetable purees (from 6 months) that you will ideally make yourself. It’s not complicated and it lets you know exactly what your baby is eating. Prefer organic vegetables , which contain no chemicals and vary according to the seasons! Mashed carrots, peas, artichokes, pumpkin, zucchini, apples, bananas. Choose sweet tastes for its young palate.
Children have an innate taste for sweetness so do not hesitate to give preference to the salty or bitter tastes of vegetables so that they learn to appreciate them. If you only give him fruit purees, he will be happy but he will refuse to bend over the vegetables. Sweetness: it’s a given, so let’s work on the rest.
And don’t forget that children have the great quality of being curious and open. Trust them;)
Forget about juices, sodas or any sugary drink . A child should only drink water , as long as possible! The pressure is strong but it is for their greater good. If they insist on sweetness, compotes and fruit purees are ideal.
The best way to develop your children’s tastes for healthy foods is through repeated and diverse exposure . This exposure will be all the more positive if you follow a few tips:
– Repeated exposure is a powerful vector of pleasure: it is normal not to appreciate certain foods at the start. Do not give up ! According to some studies it would take 5 rejections of the child before he begins to develop a taste for a food . This taste will increase over time, don’t worry.
Find healthier junk food alternatives
Fast food is typically high in sugar, unhealthy fat, and calories and low in nutrients. Still, junk food is tempting for kids, so instead of eliminating it entirely, try to cut back on the times your kids eat fast food and, on the times that they do, make the healthiest choices possible.
Kid-friendly junk food alternatives
|French fries||“Baked fries” grilled in the oven and salted lightly|
|Ice cream||Yogurt; sorbet; fresh fruit smoothies|
|Fried chicken||Baked or grilled chicken|
|Doughnuts or pastries||Bagels; English muffins; home baked goods with less sugar|
|Chocolate-chip cookies||Graham crackers, fig bars, vanilla wafers, fruit and caramel dip|
|Potato chips||Baked vegetable chips or, for older children, nuts|
Eating out with kids
Skip the fries. Instead, take along a bag of mini carrots, grapes, or other fruits and vegetables.
Watch portion size. Stick to the children’s menu or go for the smallest size. Order pizza by the slice—it will satisfy your child’s craving without tempting overindulgence.
Order the kid’s meal with substitutions. Children often love the kid’s meal more for the toys than the food. Ask to substitute healthier choices for the soda and fries.
Opt for chicken and vegetables in a sit-down restaurant, rather than a big plate of macaroni and cheese.
Be wise about sides. Sides that can quickly send calories soaring include fries, chips, rice, noodles, onion rings, and biscuits. Better bets are grilled vegetables, side salads, baked potato, corn on the cob, or apple slices.
The emotional context surrounding consumption is also important: a study carried out among children aged 3 to 5 shows that repeated exposure is all the more successful when the social context is warm and positive . It’s all in the mind! If your child thinks it is an obligation he will limit himself, if he thinks it is a piece of cake, he will adhere!
Finally: you are the example . Your child works by mimicry and will want to eat what you eat. The functioning of the baby can be modeled on that of the raccoon, which will eat an unknown food only if the adult rat consumes it.
Eat and show him that you are tasting to encourage him to do the same. You want healthy food for your little ones, but for yourself too.
Finally, in difficult times remember that your child will thank you greatly later ! Healthy eating is the key to a healthy body and mind that will give your children a solid foundation for achieving their dreams and potential in life.