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To be successful in encouraging your kids to develop healthy eating habits, it’s going to take more than a statement, rule, or a couple of healthy foods in the kitchen. Convincing kids to go “healthy” for their eating habits requires shifts in lifestyle and attitude for both parties and not just the enforcement of various eating rules. With a little pinch of knowledge, you’ll be bypassing the pressure in no time at all, and integrating the healthy eating model and living a healthy lifestyle with ease.
Understanding Developmental Stages of Children
Kids tend to be black-and-white thinkers and learn lessons in an easy and more efficient way through hands-on activities and the like. Compare telling them vegetables are healthy, allowing them to make salads or help with a stir-fry meal; more often than not, the latter tends to result in better outcomes. As for those in the 12-17 range, they see healthful eating as beneficial, if a benefit of sorts can be discovered: better performance in the field for sporty types, enhanced concentration for the studious teen, clearer skin for those concerned about their looks, or even having more energy in general. Some pay-off for eating healthy is what teenagers desire. Otherwise, it’s just another adult telling a teen what to do, which will make many teens halfheartedly accept, or worse, dismiss outright these ideas of healthy eating.
Wait For The to Come to You
Rather than the rapid introduction and integration of healthy eating at home, a better approach would be to strike-up regular conversations about food, eating, and nutrition. Welcome questions and comments about what your teen is hearing from peers, and be forthcoming with information when asked. Do kids and teens begin to initiate conversations? And conversations about healthy eating loaded with inquiries? That means they’re all ears for answers, and you’ll give it to them.
It Starts From Within
Remember, anything we choose to do is ultimately something that is important to us. This applies all the same for kids and teens. Motivation to eat well comes from within, and its imperative to nurture this internal drive for healthful eating over time; and once its going strong, fuel it so it sticks with your children for the rest of their lives. Connect good nutrition to feeling good, fueling exercise with food and performance, and eating healthfully with being healthy, not sick. Connecting these concepts with each other assists in adding value to the various lifestyle choices your child will make over time.
Don’t Force Feed, Allow It to Happen Over Time
Turning your home into a haven for healthy eating sets up the way for your family’s eating habits and behaviors. Stocking up the kitchen with various nutritious foods, serving healthy meals and snacks on the daily, as well as not demonizing pleasure foods such as dessert, will allow your kids to start easing up the new norms of the house, which may make eating outside of your home a little bit easier. When strict rules surrounding food are enforced in the home, kids are more likely to overindulge when away from home. Start promoting healthy lifestyle by making healthy food available and co-exist with some comfort foods.
We, the Parents, are Role Models
Kids and teens will look up to their parents as role models, and we should be. Try to eat healthy foods every day, be active and exercise, sleep early, and commit to other endeavors towards a healthy lifestyle that you want to see in your child. They will eat what they see their parents are eating. Do you eat healthy foods?
With all these healthy living tips in mind, encouraging your children to eat healthy or nutritious food will not be a problem. It will grow and mature over time, eventually resulting in a healthy person down the line.