The data is out there: we need to cut back on the junk food. So how do we make that happen in our own homes? Here are five ways to make sure that your child develops healthy eating habits.
- Decide what foods you want fuelling your child’s body. Once you know, it is easier to decide what fits and what should be left out (at least most of the time).
- Now it is time to get your little one in on the action. Let’s imagine that you’ve decided that five servings of fruit and vegetables will make up a portion of your child’s diet. Create a chart on the fridge with five spaces so that your child can keep track when choosing a snack.
- With your youngster, brainstorm a list of snacks that include those fruits, veggies, healthy proteins or whatever else you’ve chosen.
- When your child is ready for a snack, have them choose from their list of healthy snacks that they helped to make. Look at the check list together to determine what they need for a healthy snack today.
- What about sweets? Decide when those should happen as well and add them to the chart. Once you have made the decision, it is easier for everyone to stick to it. An example might be: one sweet treat on Saturdays and Sundays, or one sweet item per day after lunch. Once you’ve made a decision, make sure everyone knows it and stick to your decision. When we say what we mean and follow through, our kids don’t have to test us over and over again. That’s easier for everyone!
When we involve our kids in the process of brainstorming healthy snacks, deciding what fuel our body needs and choosing within those parameters, we know that we are teaching them that they are capable of making healthy choices on their own.
Image of child with apple from Shutterstock.