Children in their early age grow quickly. This time is critically important as it builds a foundation for good physical and mental health in adulthood. Children, if nurtured properly, grow to be strong and have a healthy lifestyle.
During this span of development, the intake of healthy food by children is a vital matter, as eating a nutritious diet benefits them all through life. They get the right vitamins and minerals, which help them to grow and develop optimally. Therefore, it is quite essential for parents to instill a habit of eating healthy food in children from the very beginning. This blog will discuss in detail not only about the importance of eating healthy food but also mention a few tips for parents to encourage their children to have a proper diet.
Benefits of Eating Healthy Food for kids
Healthy food eating habits can have profound effect on children, especially during their early years of development. Intake of healthy food can stabilize their energy, sharpen their minds and have a great effect on their sense of mental and emotional well-being. Nutritious diet leads to better immunity in children, which can help them in fighting any diseases, viruses or infections at the earlier stage itself.
Encouraging Kids to Eat Healthy Food
It is well said that, ‘It is easier to build up a child than it is to repair an adult’. Therefore, it is very important to encourage children to eat healthy food for them to be fit throughout their lives. Kids are never born with a craving for fast food or an aversion to vegetables or fruits, but it only occurs when they are exposed to unhealthy food choices. However, their unhealthy food cravings can be reprogrammed to healthier ones.
It is a fact that whether children are toddlers or in their teens, they develop a natural preference for the foods they enjoy the most. So, to encourage healthy eating habits, the parents need to go through this challenge of making nutritious choices appealing, and here are a few tips to do the same:
- Parents must try to be a role model of their children, for they imitate quite strongly to what they see. Therefore, if adults eat healthy food then their kids will follow them too.
- An idea to disguise the taste of healthier foods can encourage children to eat healthy, i.e. a boring food can be spiced up by adding oregano, black pepper, etc.
- Restaurant or hotel food is cooked with more sugar and excess of oils. Therefore, it is better to cook such meals at home for that may have a huge impact on the kids’ health, and they will also enjoy variety of savors.
- If kids get involved and develop interest in purchasing ingredients or cooking food, then they may be encouraged to intake healthy food. So, while shopping for groceries or preparing meals, get them along and teach them about different foods and how to read food labels.
- To avoid kids from having unhealthy snacks like soda, chips, cookies, etc. avail them with fruits, vegetables or healthy beverages when they feel the need to have snacks.
Kid-friendly Junk Food Alternatives
Usually junk food is tempting for kids. Even though it is typically high in sugar, unhealthy fat & calories and low in nutrients, fast food will always be the first choice for children to eat. However, few healthy food preparation tips can ensure healthy eating habits in children, which can include:
- Instead of French fries, give children ‘Baked Fries’ that are grilled in oven and salted lightly.
- Yogurt, sorbet and fresh fruit smoothies could be perfect substitutes of an ice cream.
- Baked or grilled chicken is as tasty as fried chicken but is healthier than it.
- Chocolate-Chip cookies are replaceable with fig bars, vanilla wafers, fruits and caramel dip.
- Baked vegetable chips or nuts could serve as delicious alternative for potato chips.
In a nutshell, there are several ways in which parents can prepare food that balances nutrition of healthy food as well as taste of junk food. Healthy food habits can be really critical for children, which will not only help them develop physically and mentally, but also lead a healthy life.