Motivating Children to Consume Nutritious Foods

Raising children is easy…said no parent ever. It can be difficult to teach our kids how to make healthy decisions that will allow them to grow and thrive in life. It can be even harder to teach them how to eat well-rounded and nutritious diets.

 If you’re a parent who wants to instill well-rounded nutritional habits in your children, you have to put in the necessary amount of work and time. I believe that the best place to start is by setting an example for your kids. But be warned, leading by good example doesn’t guarantee that children will do what we want them to do, but telling children ‘do as I say, not as I do’ definitely won’t work. That being said, hopefully by seeing you model healthy habits, it will drive the message home to your kids that consciously making healthy decisions is important. Let them see you eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables so your kids know that you eat healthily. This gives a greater success of them emulating your eating habits. I’m not saying that you have to turn into a health food nut, but if your kiddos see you hitting the drive-thru and chowing down on cheeseburgers and fries all of the time, it will send them a message that you honestly don’t want. Fast food every once in a while is fine! However, if they think that you give fast food your stamp of approval as always being the quick go-to for mealtime, it may just motivate them to choose it first themselves, and understandably so.

It’s critical to see to it that your kids consume wholesome foods that are chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals as much as possible. Kids need to eat foods that are rich in everything from fiber to calcium. You can speak with a nutritionist or your pediatrician for guidance. They will be able to point you in the right direction about your children’s dietary requirements. As you plan meals, remember you get the most out of fresh and unprocessed foods, and should try to implement these as much as possible. Snack time is another opportunity to offer your kids healthier options. Simply put, If you keep food choices healthy, your child is more likely to eat healthy.

If you have a picky eater on your hands, you’ll likely find it more difficult to get them to try new foods. I’ve learned that children seem to be more open to changes when they are made slowly. Just keep at it. Offer them new foods at every meal or snack. If they adopt even one healthy food a week, don’t be discouraged, it’s actually a big win! In fact, research shows children may need to be exposed to a new food up to 10 times before they accept it!

 

The important thing is to maintain a healthy attitude towards food. Try not to lump food into a category as “good or “bad”. The way parents talk about food and eat are important influences of your child’s developing eating habits. Make mealtime an enjoyable experience. Let your kids know it’s okay to eat all types of food, even fast food and junk food, in moderation. 

It’s totally unrealistic to expect yourself to be a perfect role model. Try your best to demonstrate good eating habits. Seeing you do this will encourage your child to do the same and have an overall positive impact on your child.