Parents are killing their own children thinking they are giving them the best food out there. Whatever a child asks for, they deliver it there and then! Goodies like chips, ice cream, doughnuts, hot dogs, cookies, candy bars and sweets are all dangers to a child’s health. Below are strategies that I hope will help break your kids’ unhealthy food habits - and get you down the path to healthy nutrition.
Don’t buy it; Get rid of junk food temptation by clearing already existing stashes of junk food, and then strictly limit the amounts you buy. Even wiser, don’t buy it! If it is not there, they can’t eat it.
Find healthy alternatives; Healthy alternatives might be best if saying ‘no’ does not work. If you are going to take something away make sure you replace it with something else. Fruits are the healthiest replacement.
Encourage choices; You have to agree with me on this – freedom of choice is a powerful tool for changing a child’s eating habits. I spend a lot of time with my sister’s kids and the thing that works the best is letting them have their choice… but limit it. Try asking, do you want fresh beans, cabbage, or squash with the chicken? I also think that incorporating your children’s input while you are in the grocery store is a motivation for them, hence forgetting junk food. Take your kids to the store with you and encourage them to pick out healthy snacks and foods.
Introduce variety; A healthy diet doesn’t have to be a boring one. Try to frequently introduce new healthy ingredients and recipes to keep the family interested. Try shopping for different fruits and veggies that none of you have ever tried before. Also, finding new and exciting recipes on the internet and add them to your menu.
Offer rewards; Other moms recommend rewarding healthy eating with non-food prizes. Make a deal: if they eat healthy meals, they get points and a desired gift, or you can take them to places they like.
Gradually transition foods; Swapping white bread or pasta for whole grain isn’t always easy given the difference in taste and texture. Do not force them to eat what they don’t like - be polite or crafty because vigor will make them loose their appetite and morale.
Allow occasional treats; You don’t have to completely give up junk food, and in fact, it can be particularly difficult to prevent kids from indulging in treats during holidays like Christmas and Easter. Instead, limit it to particular occasions or days. My suggestion is, “Why not make Sunday night your family’s official junk food night? Personally, I really enjoy the bad stuff from time to time. Let them eat whatever they want on that day, but reasonably.
These strategies are not easy to implement but with time, you will notice a big change in your children’s eating choices.