Being a parent can be hard, especially when it comes to trying to strike a balance between encouraging children to eat healthy – or trying to get them to eat anything at all. With childhood obesity on the rise, the media is full of scare stories about overweight kids and health risks; at the same time making food into a big issue from an early age could lead to eating disorders later on.
There is a massive UK shift towards healthier lifestyles. If you are putting good, nutritious food into your body surely you want that for your children too right? Children learn most of their eating behaviours from the people they spend most time with….us! Instilling good habits from an early age can help our children become healthier adults and having more positive relationships with food in general. Food allergies and intolerances are much more common in children now than they have ever been so there is a need for a shift towards healthier lifestyles for them too. The scary thing is research shows that our children are likely to live shorter lives because of the amount of highly-processed sugary foods that they have in today’s society. There have even been links between highly processed, sugary foods and things like Attention Deficit Disorder and autism. The things we eat shape us and our future health. What better lesson to teach our children?
So how can you get the balance right? Here are 6 tips to start off with.
1) Avoid Labels
As soon as you start labelling foods as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and banning things from the house, it starts to set up associations in your little ones’ minds about food having some kind of moral value. Try not to give any foods allure by calling them ‘naughty’ – we all know that kids love to push boundaries and will always want the naughty option when they get the opportunity. Their minds work just like ours: If you don’t keep crisps or chocolate in the house, they won’t want it. If they want a treat and all the options are healthy and nutritious they will have to chose something from what is available.
2) Make it fun!
Make healthy versions of common childhood treats or buy in sugar-free, gluten-free and healthy snacks. If your little one is old enough, why not get them involved in the baking and making. If your little one hates their veggies, you can try disguising the