If children see their parents taking exercise such as walking, swimming, playing football or netball etc, they will look upon this as a normal activity and the same applies to food. If healthy food is on the menu kids will become accustomed to that type of diet and continue with a healthy way of eating as they grow up into teenagers and eventually adulthood. All kids will rebel against some foods and a majority will become vegetarian and vegan. Some children may not like wet foods such as cereals with milk and prefer to eat it without milk. Others may prefer wet foods such as casseroles. It can be tricky to get the kids to eat what is good for them but it is worth every ounce of patience when you see them glowing with health!
Educating the Kids
Educatingchildren from an early age to eat sensibly once they start choosing foods they like and dislike is essential for them to develop a responsible attitude about eating healthy. Children will become comfortable consuming healthy food once they start having the same meals as their parents. Dishing up smaller amounts is better than overloading the plate, which could encourage a child to start overeating.
Finicky children need encouragement and patience. Being firm, by not giving in to their demands for foods that are unhealthy. Food such as crisps, chocolate bars, too many sweets, cakes and fizzy drinks is not healthy. It’s not about completely denying children these foods, simply being reasonable with the amount allowed and on how many days in the week they can have them. Limit sweets, chocolate, and crisps to a certain amount every day choosing alternate days for one or the other. Introduce fresh fruit for snacks and natural fruit juices. Grapes for older children are a better snack and far cheaper than chocolate or crisps. Apples, oranges, strawberries (when in season), pears, bananas are all popular preferences. Stoggy puddings such as sponge puddings and custard should be a once a week treat. Sugary foods decay the teeth and will clog up the system. Take away food, and unhealthy eating out places are almost impossible to avoid. Make it a rule that this is a treat now and again, such as birthdays or a twice a month outing. Too many chips, burgers, pizza, nuggets, fish fried in batter, etc, is extremely unhealthy! Full fat milk needs replacing with semi-skimmed once children start moving towards their teenage years. Cheese should be offered in moderation but it is an essential part of a child’s diet in sensible portions. Salt should not be introduced to small children because their kidneys find it hard to cope with too much salt. Loaves of bread come in all kinds of varieties, from seed to whole grain. Plain wholesome bread for the toddlers is better than seeded because these types could be a potential choke hazard, and limit white bread.
Food for kids should be fun!
Making wholesome food for kids fun will encourage healthy eating. Make faces with food to entice the taste buds and get the kids eating that carrot for a nose, peas for eyes, mash potato for a face, green beans for the mouth and some gravy for the hair! Sausages and fish fingers with vegetables and potatoes ( not chips or other similar products all the time). Introduce tomatoes in these types of meals instead of gravy. Slowly introduce other healthy foods. Give fun names such as marbles for peas, clouds for mash potato, fire for carrots. When you think about all the fun that goes into making cupcakes or occasion cakes, why not for the everyday meal!
Once children are old enough whether male or female, get them involved with cooking. One day they will either have to look after themselves or their families. Most kids love to help with the baking. Allowing them to create their own little masterpiece will show a sense of achievement and they will want to help more often.
Children tend to pick up on parent habits the diet is one of them. For example, if a child is on a diet of foods that are ready-made and put in the oven to heat up this will be looked upon as a customary way of eating. With some kids, this way of eating will carry on when they are grown up. The same applies to exercise if the parents are not actively keeping fit and are television addicts.
Exercise is allpart and parcel of living a healthy lifestyle. Make this enjoyable and not overly vigorous or boring. Just playing twentyminutes of football, joining a dance or gymnastics club. Any sports that interest the child will make sure they are getting enough exercise. When you take the dog for a walk insist the children come along for the ride!
Technology has become the popular playtime toys of today, put a time limit on them and stick to it! Once old enough let them help around the house and garden. There is a trend coming back for growing your own fruit and vegetables, get them involved.
A Learning Curve
Educating kids is not just about the ABC and math’s, it’s about how they look after themselves from an early age to adulthood. Hopefully, they will pass this on to future generations. Fit people gain so much more out of life. Unhealthy people who develop illness and disease will struggle and not enjoy life so much when they become older. It all begins in the early years and educating our children to think about healthy eating and exercise.
Time changes things, but the basics for good health remain in place. Fruit, vegetables, lean meat, small amounts of dairy products, and plain fish will never go out of fashion. Exercise even a brisk walk is enough to get the adrenalin going. The early years are crucial to instigating good healthy eating and living habits.
Teach the kids the food of life, and watch them grow strong and healthy!
I am retired and enjoying studying all things related to life coaching and health issues in general. I have studied Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Integrated Wellness on the Udemy learning platform and have attended other online colleges to study various courses from anti-aging to hygiene and infection control.
I reside with my husband Eddie in Hertfordshire UK.