It can be a tough old job when there are so many tasty yet terribly unhealthy snacks around. Chocolate bars, sour gums, salty crisps, sherbet dips, penny sweets, sugary spreads…. the list is endless. It does little good trying to convince our little ones of the value of a healthy diet; what we need to do is make healthy food more attractive, more accessible and tastier.
Create positive, healthy habits now, and we can help our children not only avoid contributing to the current state of UK obesity (one fifth of children aged 10 to 11 years), but grow up to be strong, bright and healthy young adults. Bad food consumption does damage to our children’s weights, teeth and minds, so time to start them on the road to a healthier diet today.
Check out these great ideas on how to help your child eat healthier:
1. Careful enticement
Plain and simple, children love to see their names on stuff. They scribble it in notepads, they scrawl it on window panes. So use this fact to your advantage and plaster their names of lunch boxes and the like so that, whatever healthy offering lies therein, they’ll be more likely to gobble it up rather than cheekily set it aside and swap it out for another one of those terrible snacks. We don’t have much control over what our children are doing while at school, but the strategic use of a school name tag here and there can make all the difference. Personalised name tags with carefully selected pictures and colours are all the better.
2. Dips deliver
If your kids are resistant to vegetables, dips can be a gamechanger. Carrot, celery, cucumber, bell peppers are all super-healthy and great for dipping. The secret, then, is to get the dip tasty and healthy. Hummus, spiced yoghurt and guacamole are all delicious and nutritious dips that you can make at home without any great skills or time required. Your kids will love them, and you’ll have won a key battle in the war on bad snacking.
3. Start as you mean to continue
Breakfast is a fantastic opportunity to get in an early victory. Bleary-eyed children are, quite frankly, there for the taking. While they’re still sleepy, they’ll have their guard down, and you get happily get in a couple of early strikes before their fighting spirit can bite back, or indeed have any idea what’s hit them. Rather than sugary cereals, make it a habit to have some porridge on the go in the mornings, which you can supplement with a few tasty fruits and nuts and a dollop of natural yoghurt.
4. Don’t get heavy
All in all, it is not recommended to turn your children into the healthy-eating-human version of a foie gras goose. So put away the feeding funnel, be prepared to listen to what your children say, responding in kind. If they don’t like something you’ve slaved over, trying to force your kids to eat it will only create massive stress for everyone and end up being entirely counterproductive. Instead, give them plenty of opportunity to express what they did or didn’t like about a healthy dish or snack, incorporating them into the process, and thereby engaging them further with the idea of eating well in the future.