One of the things that parents worry about most is what their children are eating. Ensuring that little ones have a healthy diet can be difficult – especially if your own diet could be better. However, there are ways to help your kids (and even yourself and your pets!) eat more healthily.
Even if you tend to eat on the fly – many adults do because we’re all so busy – your children really need to stick to a routine, if possible. Children need to eat every three to four hours. That means they will need three proper meals, as well as two snacks, in one day. Knowing what times you will provide that food for them will help you make sure there is always something good and healthy; you can even prepare in advance. It also means that your children will know when their next meal is coming, and should stop them from asking for additional snacks.
If you can work out a weekly meal plan – and buy the ingredients you need in advance on your weekly grocery shopping trip – then you won’t suddenly find that it’s dinner time and you don’t know what to cook, and you’re running out of time before bath and bed. When you start to run out of time, grabbing something unhealthy that can be thrown into the oven or microwave and served up in minutes is tempting, but it’s not good for your kids’ health. Planning ahead and carving out the time you need will stop that from happening.
Eat Together – Eat The Same
Many people get into the habit of cooking one meal for the kids, and another for the adults. This might be because of late working hours, because the children don’t like what the grownups do, or because there just isn’t enough time to all sit down together. If you can, however, all eat at the same time, and all eat the same dish, it will be much easier. Even if you can only do it twice, or perhaps three times a week, it’s a great start. It fosters good manners, keeps everyone healthier, and entices the children to try different things.
Don’t Have Junk Food In The House
Yes, it’s super easy to buy a packet of cookies and keep them in the store cupboard for emergencies. However, if they’re not there, your kids can’t eat them – it’s really that simple. Buy fruit or fruit-based snacks instead (check out the sugar content before you purchase them though) and your children will soon get used to them. You can even make sure there are no bad foods in the house for any family member, including your dog. Having grain free dog food is a healthier alternative, and will keep your good habits going – if your children know that even your pets are eating well, they won’t feel so aggrieved that their unhealthy snacks have disappeared.
Although it can be tempting to say something if your child refuses to try the food that you’ve served them, try to bite your tongue. You don’t want your child to be hungry – that’s perfectly natural – but you also need them to have a balanced diet. If they don’t eat the meal you made, stay strong and don’t let them have any kind of treat or dessert (assuming one was on offer). If they are still hungry, fruit or healthy yogurts can be offered instead.