How to Inspire Kids to Eat Healthy Food

by Garreth Myers

It is a struggle for most parents to inculcate healthy eating habits in children. This is especially true in today’s world where processed foods, sugary products and junk foods have become increasingly popular among both adults as well as kids. Inspiring kids to eat healthy foods is an ongoing process that requires encouragement, persistence as well as a lot of creativity. It is important for parents to keep certain guidelines in mind so that they can encourage their children to establish and maintain healthy eating habits. The most important step in encouraging healthy food habits in kids is to make an early start. Right from infancy, children need to be encouraged to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are extremely high in nutritional value. Homemade infant foods that have a variety of textures and flavors are very beneficial in keeping infants interested in the foods they eat. Since children develop a sense of taste in the very early years of their life, exposing them to a variety of healthy foods at an early stage helps in encouraging healthy eating habits, as they grow older. Creativity is another important tool in inspiring healthy food habits. You can present nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables in a colorful and attractive manner to kids so that they are interested in eating them.

Instead of sneaking fruits and vegetables in your child’s diet, make it a game so that they actually want to eat these foods. You can prepare a fun nutrition checklist that includes a variety of healthy foods and every time your child eats any of these foods, have him/her tick it off on the checklist. Follow this practice at every meal so that your child learns to associate healthy food habits with a positive parental feedback. Children love to please their parents and therefore this is a great technique to inspire them to eat healthy foods. Another very important point to bear in mind is that in order to inspire kids to eat healthy, parents themselves need to eat healthy and be good role models. Children always imitate the behavior of their parents and this holds true even in the case of eating habits. If you make healthy and nutritious food choices for yourself, your children too will be encouraged to do the same. Therefore, it is very important for parents to limit their own intake of unhealthy foods and substitute those with healthier food options so that the kids follow the same example.

Parents also need to be consistent and perseverant to inspire their kids to eat healthy. Although is it not impossible to teach kids healthy eating habits, it does take some time and therefore patience is vital. It is never a good idea to force-feed your child, as this will only make him/her despise healthy foods. This makes the child develop a negative association with healthy foods. Instead, you can involve your child in routine grocery shopping and meal planning so that he learns why certain foods are better than others are and gets inspired to eat healthy. Many parents make the mistake of giving in to their child’s demands especially in the case of food choices. This indirectly tells the child that constant persistence will let them get their way each time. Instead, if a child refuses to eat something, it is best to allow the child to remain hungry without other easy alternatives. This goes a long way in helping him develop better eating habits. Non-food rewards like extra playtime or a trip to their favorite place are always healthier options as compared to sweet food rewards. All these methods will eventually help them develop an appreciation for different types of healthy foods.

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