It’s no secret that the early years of a child’s life is an important time to be building healthy eating habits. Ensuring children are eating a balanced diet full of nutritiously rich foods is critical for their overall health, growth and development. Yet parents know that getting kids to eat healthier can feel like a never-ending battle. In light of August being Kids Eat Right Month, owner of Australian Nutrition Centre, James Jensen, shares his top 5 tips on how to encourage your kids to make healthier choices when it comes to their food.
1. Make Family Meal Times a Priority
Studies have shown that children who share a family meal at least three times a week are more likely to have healthier dietary and eating habits. Having children eat alongside family members encourages them to join in and try new foods, particularly if everyone is eating the same meals.
2. Involve Children in the Cooking Process
Getting children involved in preparing meals gives them the opportunity to learn about different foods and assists in building healthier eating habits. Children learn by watching you cook, so getting them to help in the kitchen will spark their curiosity and lead to an increased interest in the types of foods being served.
3. Grow a Vegetable Patch
Planting and growing veggies in the backyard is a great way to get children excited about eating different types of foods. It also gives them the opportunity to learn about how vegetables are grown and their associated benefits. Not only is this a fun and great activity that the whole family can get involved in, but children who grow their own food are often more likely to eat it too.
4. Watch Food Documentaries
If you’re having a night in, why not watch a food documentary as a family? Discussion and investigation through food documentaries are a great and interesting source of education for children and often shows them the process behind how different types of foods are grown.
5.Don’t Cut Food too Small
This might sound like a strange one, but studies have shown that children are more willing to consume vegetables when they are in larger pieces (yes, it's true!). By keeping food sizes as large as possible (but still small enough for kids to consume properly) it creates the illusion that there is less for them to eat.
Getting your children to eat healthier doesn’t have to be the battle it probably feels like. By taking simple steps, you can encourage your child to develop healthier habits in a fun and interesting way.