Maintaining a well-balanced diet is far easier if you have experience at a younger age. As parents, instilling these habits in children isn’t always straightforward, as young ones tend to be the pickiest of eaters. However, with a little creativity, you can make healthy eating fun for your kids! Check out these three tips for ensuring your child’s diet is effective and engaging.
Work as a Team
Children love to have input on their own lives, which is why some make poor diet behaviors outside of your supervision—this gives them momentary freedom and choice. By building a healthy diet together, your kids are more likely to follow the plan. Sit down and decide what types of foods your kids will most likely enjoy and what items are unappealing.
Of course, as the parent, you’ll have to enforce certain guidelines that your children won’t be a fan of, but they’ll still have a voice throughout the process. Get your kids excited about healthy eating habits by letting them take some of the responsibility!
Find Healthy Alternatives
There are some foods that your child will lament giving up for good—sweets, chips, and soda are the most common. Luckily, you can find healthy alternatives that allow your kids to maintain their preferred palates. Homemade soda with sugar-free flavoring is an easy way to limit empty calories. Plus, making soda at home is fun for the whole family!
You can also try your hand at healthier versions of snacks, like air-fried carrot chips or oven-baked kale chips. Replace high-sodium meats, like bacon, with more balanced items. For example, artisan jerky is protein-packed, so it’s a great way to include more protein in your child’s diet. Experiment with these alternative options and find which ones are best for your child and their diet.
Rewards for Good Habits
Dieting is hard for all ages but especially difficult for younger children with little to no experience. As such, don’t forget to reward your loved ones when they accomplish and maintain good eating habits! Children’s bodies are more capable of repurposing nutrients, so a sweet treat here and there is a great way to keep them motivated.
Plan for “cheat days” where kids can select their favorite meal that’s outside of their new diet. This gives them something to look forward to as they improve their lifestyle. Plus, choosing their rewards helps them learn to make calculated decisions.
Ultimately, you want to make healthy eating a fun activity for kids because that ensures the most success and least amount of discouragement. Give your child some control over how they’ll diet and stay the course with them to ensure the best possible results.