Teach children healthy eating
If it were up to the children, there would be chips and pizza, pasta and burgers, chips and plenty of sweets every day. Sounds tempting, but in the long run the big end is inevitable: important nutrients are missing and excess pounds accumulate. Children are increasingly developing metabolic disorders such as diabetes or high blood pressure. It is important to take early countermeasures. But that is easier said than done.
How do you get small vegetable refusers to eat more healthy greens? Like a fast food freak for a balanced diet or a computer junkie for more exercise? This does not work with prohibitions, but only together with the kids – so that the whole family is happy.
Important question: why do we eat like this?
Most parents, and often children, are aware of what children should eat best. If you would like to read this again, you will find information on healthy child nutrition here. So the question of how we achieve this goal is usually much more crucial. Bans and admonitions are usually not enough.
If you really want to change something, you should take some time and ask yourself: Why does the child eat like this? Does it eat too much because it is bored or lonely? Does the child experience food as a reward, comfort or recognition? Does it refuse to eat because the mood at the table spoils your appetite? Maybe it doesn’t like the way vegetables or other "healthy" dishes are prepared? Or does Papa always refer to vegetables and salads as "rabbit food"?
Set goals and consider wishes
What children eat or don’t eat mostly depends on the family and the environment. So it doesn’t help to blame the child and put pressure on them. It is better to look for solutions together. Maybe you can motivate your child about his own ideals. While "health" is usually not an interesting goal for kids, most of them want to be slim, look good, have beautiful skin, be strong and fit and shine with sporting success.
Also consider the child’s desires and preferences. Try to find compromises and set common goals. According to the motto: first there is vegetable lasagna and then a small portion of your favorite dessert. Set clear rules and agree small, achievable goals. Successful changes in eating behavior can be rewarded with a nice trip, for example.
Delicacies: a special treat
By the way, bans are not a good means of nutritional education. Because sweets, snacks and fat treats are simply part of life. However, children should learn that they are literally “stimulants”: something special that you consciously enjoy. Those who otherwise have a balanced diet are welcome to treat themselves to a portion of chips or ice cream every now and then.
When it comes to sweets and snacks, self-service seduces many kids to grab it without restraint. Better limit access to such goodies. Agree that there is a small ration of sweets every day, for example after lunch.
Change behavior: it’s easier together
Changing your eating habits is not that easy. It helps if the whole family moves with them. In any case, children learn best using the example of their parents. Those who preach vegetables but prefer to eat currywurst or cream cake will hardly be able to convince their child. It is also unfair for the family to lick ice cream, but for the family to lose weight.
By the way: Cooking and eating together in a relaxed atmosphere is fun and motivates you to eat healthily.
Make healthy healthy
"My child doesn’t like whole grain bread and vegetables," complained many parents. Patience and imagination are required. With so many different types of vegetables and even more ways to prepare them, there is sure to be something for your child too. Whole grain cereals can also be processed in countless variations, for example finely ground in berry muffins.
It is important to always offer the child different types and preparations. It should try at least a little. Don’t give up straight away if the child doesn’t like something the first time. Many children also enjoy taste experiments: Can your child taste different foods blindfolded? In addition, shopping and cooking together motivates the kids to try something new.
Sometimes little tricks help to make healthy things interesting. Viking burger just sounds a lot cooler than whole grain rolls with ham and salad. And a funny face made from sliced vegetables creates more appetite than greenish-grayish-boiled spinach. Try out what best convinces your child.
Suggestion for a delicious, original snack: Olymic Snack
What can you do if the food turns into a bone of contention??
What to do if everything does not help, although the parents try hard and want the best? When the topic of food keeps leading to arguments and puts a strain on the whole family? Then you should not be afraid to seek help. Competent contacts are nutritionists, doctors, health insurance companies, health authorities or institutions such as the Federal Center for Health Education (BzgA) or the German Obesity Society. Special programs for overweight children help on the difficult path to slimming down.
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