By VERA AWUAH –
Do you have kids who are hooked on junk and unhealthy food?
With these simple tips, you can get kids to eat right without turning mealtime into a war zone.
Peer pressure and TV advertisement for junk food can make getting kids to eat well an uphill struggle. Factor in your own hectic schedule and it’s no wonder so many kids’ diets are built around convenience and takeout food. But switching to a healthy diet can have a profound effect on children’s health, helping to maintain a healthy diet and weight and avoid certain health problems, manage their moods and sharpen their minds. A healthy food can also have a profound effect on a child’s sense of mental and emotional wellbeing.
Healthy meals help to prevent certain conditions such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. The rate of eating well can support a child’s healthy growth and development into a unique adulthood and may even play a role in lowering the risk of suicide in young people. If your child has been diagnosed with an unstable health problem, a healthy diet can help your child to manage the symptoms and regain control of their health. It’s important to remember that kids aren’t born with a craving for pizza, sandwich, French fries and fried foods. This conditioning happens over time as kids are exposed to more and more unhealthy food choices. However, it is important to programme your children’s food cravings so that they crave healthier foods instead. The sooner you introduce wholesome Nutritious choices into your kids’ diets, the easier they’ll be able to develop a healthy relationship with a great food that can last them a lifetime. And it can be simpler and less time -consuming than you can imagine.
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With these tips, you can instill healthy eating habits without turning mealtime or food time in a battle zone for them and give your kids the very best opportunity to grow into healthy confident adults.
ENCOURAGE HEALTHY EATING HABITS: Research has proven that whether they are toddlers or in their teens, all children develop a natural preference for the food they enjoy the most. So, it is advisable to encourage healthy eating habits in the home. The challenge is to make Nutritious choices appealing for the kids. Focus on the overall diet rather than specific foods. Your kids should be eating more whole foods minimally processed food – food that is as close to its natural form as possible, like fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains.
BE ROLE MODEL: The childhood impulse to imitate is as strong, so don’t ask your child to eat vegetables whiles they don’t see you eating vegetables. You need to eat fruits and vegetables for them to also enjoy eating.
DISGUISE THE TASTE OF HEALTHIER FOOD: Disguising the taste of food is very important – like adding vegetables to beef stew or sauce. For example, you can mash carrots up with mashed potatoes and add it to your meals or you add a sweet dip to slices of apples. Cooking meals at home is very important for one’s health. Restaurant and takeout meals or food have more added sugar and unhealthy fat so cooking at home can have a huge impact on your kids’ health and well-being. If you consider to make large batches of food, cooking just a few times can be enough to feed your family for the week instead of take-outs. Get kids involved in shopping for food stuff and ingredients and preparing meals so they can take note of colours. You can take them to supermarket and teach them about different foods and how to read food labels.
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MAKE HEALTHY SNACKS AVAILABLE ALL THE TIME: Keep plenty of fruits, vegetables and healthy beverages like water, milk, natural pure juice, smoothies on hand so kids avoid unhealthier snacks like chips cookies, and more. It is always good to limit portion sizes. Don’t insist your child should do something you want them to do, and never use food as a reward or bribe.
HEALTHY FOOD FOR KIDS STARTS WITH BREAKFAST: Kids who enjoy breakfast everyday have better memories, more stable moods and energy, and score higher in tests, according to research studies. Eating a breakfast high in quality protein from enriched cereal, yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs, meat and fish can even help teenagers grow healthier and loss weight. Make mealtime more than just healthy food. Making time to sit down as a family to eat a home- cooked meals not only sets a great example for kids about the importance of Healthy food, it’s also brings a family together- even moody teenagers love to eat tasty home cooked food!
REGULAR FAMILY MEALS AND CARE PROVIDES COMFORT: Knowing the whole family will sit down to eat dinner or breakfast together the same time every day can be very comforting for kids and enhance appetite. Family meals offer opportunities to catch up on your kids’ daily lives. Gathering the family around the table for a meal is an ideal opportunity to talk and listen to your kids or children without the distraction of phones, TV or computers.
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Social interaction is vital for your child. The simple act of talking over the dinner table about how they feel can play a big role in relieving stress and boosting your child’s mood and self-esteem. And it gives you the chance to identify problem in your child’s life and deal with them early.
AVOID FOODS THAT IMPAIR YOUR CHILD’S MOOD: A diet high in processed foods, such as fried food, sweet dessert, sugary snacks, refined flour and cereal can increase the risk for anxiety and depression in kids.
Happy healthy Eating ………