It’s time to get up! You’ve got to get yourself dressed, wake up the kids, get them ready, take them to school, and get to work. In all this hustle and bustle it’s easy to decide to hit the drive-thru to pick up a little breakfast for everyone.
That’s not the best idea if you want to encourage healthy eating habits. Children need a balanced breakfast even if it’s only a bowl of yogurt. How do you work that into your morning though?
We’re here to tell you that with these healthy eating tips for kids, it won’t be too hard. Keep reading to learn more.
Start With Breakfast
A balanced diet all starts with breakfast. Your child is going to need a little protein in order to stay full and conquer their day. We understand that not everyone has the time or energy to cook a 5-star breakfast every morning and you don’t have to. There are plenty of on-the-go options that you can try out.
You can prepare egg sandwiches on whole wheat bread, keep your refrigerator stocked with Greek yogurt, or send them off with whole-grain peanut butter toast.
Make Mealtime You Time
Because of work and school, it’s hard to sit down at the table and have breakfast and lunch as a family. That’s why it’s important to make sure everyone’s calendars are clear for dinner. Having dinner together helps to provide structure and gives your kids a schedule they can cling to.
It gives you a chance to monitor their eating habits and encourage any little changes that you can. Mealtime also allows you to set a good example. If your children see you preparing and eating healthy foods, they’ll most likely repeat that behavior when they’re out or at a friend’s house.
Keep in mind that you can also set the wrong example at the dinner table. Don’t count calories or talk about how much weight you’ve been gaining lately. Doing this may cause your kid to associate negative emotions with food.
Provide Healthy Snack Options
When your child gets home from school they’re going to want a small snack to tie them over until dinner is done. While it’s cheaper and easier to fill your cabinets with powdered donuts and chips, these foods don’t contain many nutrients to speak of and they’re full of calories.
Keep nutritious snack foods around such as yogurt, fruit, and unsalted nuts. While you’re at it, avoid purchasing sugary fruit drinks and sodas as well. Water is a much better choice.
Get Your Child Involved
The best way to get your kid excited about healthy eating is to get them involved with it. Take them to the store with you and let them help you shop. Teach them how to read the nutritious facts labels so they know what ingredients are good and which ones aren’t.
Let them help you prepare meals in the kitchen. They may not be able to tackle hard tasks yet but they can do little things. Once they get older you can let them make dinner for everyone once a week or so.
When a child cooks a meal, they’re going to be proud of it and want to eat it. So, learning how to cook will make them much less picky eaters.
Plant Your Own Food
This sort of goes along with getting your kid involved but it can be good to show your kid where their food comes from. They’ll be asking you a lot of questions about seeds and how the plants get nutrients so it acts as a valuable science lesson too.
The child will be proud of the plants that they’ve helped to grow so they’ll be more willing to at least try them whereas before they wouldn’t even entertain the idea. Taking care of something like a garden will teach them responsibility as well.
For particularly picky eaters, you may have to get a little creative to get them to try different foods. Keep fresh fruit in a bowl by the door. After a while, they’ll start grabbing for it on their way out without thinking about it.
Tell your kid about the different types of produce at the store and let them choose which ones they want. Chop up the veggies and hide them in spaghetti and other meals. Your kids will eat it without even noticing.
Chop the vegetables into fun and creative shapes. They’ll be more likely to eat a cherry tomato if it looks like a cute little ladybug, for example.
Once you’ve got your child on the path to healthy eating, they’ll need to pick up good exercise habits to keep their mind and body in top shape. There are quite a few ways for you to encourage exercise for kids.
Go out for a family walk at least one time a day. Take them outside to play ball or some other activity. Have them do chores that require a lot of movement such as walking the dog or vacuuming.
When you go on family vacations, pencil hikes and bicycle rides into the itinerary. When they’re young, your child won’t know how to balance calories but you do.
Keep track of how many calories they take in vs how many they burn. Just don’t do it in front of them. Again, that may cause them to think of food as an enemy.
Other Things to Consider
If you start your child on these practices while they’re still young, they’ll be more likely to keep up with them as an adult. If your kid doesn’t clean their plate at dinner time, don’t force them to finish it. They’ll revisit their plate if they get hungry but if they’re full, they’re full.
If your child eats their snacks right out of the bag there’s a good chance they may overeat. Make them pour their snacks into a bowl to control their portions.
A Parent’s Guide to Healthy Eating Tips for Kids
With the everyday hustle and bustle, it can be hard for you to work healthy eating into the schedule. It’s important for your children to have a balanced diet, however. Without the right amount of nutrition, they won’t have the energy or focus they need to tackle their day.