How Can I Improve My Child's Eating Habits?

How Can I Improve My Child's Eating Habits?

healthy eating habits for kids

Do you belong to the bandwagon of moms who struggle to feed their child the right kind of food every day? If yes, then you can be rest assured that you are not the only one facing this problem. Increase in junk-food brands and choices has not only spurred the growth of consumerism but impacted the diet of people too, especially children who are instantly attracted towards the convenience of such foods. 

So how can I improve my child’s eating habits? This is a question which is found to be dwelling on the lips of caring mom and in its answer these are some of the tips which are universally applicable –

  • Emphasize the need for healthy food. This can be done by drawing an analogy with cars, boats, airplanes or any other locomotive that your child is interested in. The line of explanation should be that healthy food is the fuel which our body needs to function and without which we would be as flimsy and shapeless as a deflated balloon. At the same time you must practice what you preach and refrain from junk food yourself.

  • As a parent, a lot depends on you to determine their eating habits. For this you would need to ensure that there is always a healthy snack at hand at any given point of time. Fruits and salads are some of the ideal examples of healthy snacks and aerated drinks should be replaced with water. While the latter is the best way to ensure hydration throughout the day, the former would not just fulfill the requirement of nutrients but not interfere with meals as well.

  • Shopping in terms of quality and not quantity can also play a seminal role in determining the eating habits of children. A strong suggestion in this regard would be to concentrate on buying healthy food and eliminate junk altogether. What is not there cannot be eaten and your child would be forced to choose healthy food while snacking. When old enough, children can be made to read labels as well so that they can realize the value of nutrients and get into the habit of making good choices on their own.

  • Many parents make the mistake of insisting on healthy food only during meal times and exclude lunch at school and snacking while in front of the TV. These meals count too, especially the lunch at school, and children need to be taught from a very young age that they are supposed to have healthy meals in school too. Experts also recommend placing a ban on snacking while in front of television as it often results in the formation of the proverbial ‘couch potato’.

  • An important fact to bear in mind while incorporating all these measures is that children are after all children and hence will be stubborn. In fact they tend to become even more obstinate once they realize how hell-bent the parent is in determining their diet. Such a situation is best tackled by avoiding the build-up of the situation into an ego tussle. You can find a way of sneaking some nutrients into your child’s favorite snack – for example, if your child loves eating cakes then a carrot cake would be an ideal solution. Likewise you can also allow him to snack on goodies once a day to assure him that it is not as much about discipline as about health.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad