How I can encourage my children to eat healthy food.
The key to having and maintaining a healthy body is to have a balanced diet with all good thing's in moderation. It is so easy as a parent to sometimes take the easy way out and serve meal's to our children which are as nutritious as the packaging that they came in. I think the best way to stop falling into a take away culture or a junk food routine is down to a mixture of education, fun and family togetherness.
The price of food continue's to rise, along with the other general living cost's. Sometime's it is easier to ignore the healthy option and buy in bulk the mass produced food from the large supermarkets. The financial situation for many of us does mean that we have to reign in our principal's and that is a cold hard truth for most people globally.
No matter what our parental best intentions are, we face an obstacle in the shape of our children and their highly specific eating habit's. My two children worship at the altar of McDonald's and Domino's Pizza, and they would eat every meal there if they could. Due to my side of the family having diabetes, I have personally always been quite careful on my own eating habit's. I have continued with that philosophy with my own children, but I am now running into my children's belief that fresh food is not best and the immortal phrase of " I don't like it! ".
After talking with my family and friend's I am determined to show my children that eating healthy can be fun and that what they take for granted is the result of other people's hard work. To do this I have done the following thing's to encourage my children to become aware of nature and where our food comes from.
To encourage the children to think where their food comes from, I have started to make a vegetable patch for the kids so they can grow their own food. The reason why I think this is a great idea, is because it worked for me when I was their age's. Now I am an adult there is only two fruits or vegetables I will not touch or eat,this is purely because I don't like the taste. When I was a Seven year old I would only eat Potato or Carrot's and the Potatoes were usually chipped, so not really that healthy an option!
I was very lucky that my Grandad had a large garden that was given over to growing his own vegetables and fruit. When I was a child one of my enduring memories was picking Tomatoes freshly off the vine in the greenhouse or digging up tasty and healthy Carrot's from the ground. Nothing purchased from the shops's or served in a restaurant could ever recreate or match the flavour of my Grandad's crops.
Another way to encourage my children to eat healthy is to educate them in a way that makes fresh food interesting. I am fortunate that the children's school and nursery actively encourages the children to eat healthy at snack time and at school meal time. Taking an active interest in what the children have at snack time or for lunch helps formulate a healthy balanced diet, by checking what the children are eating reinforces the importance of healthy food.
One trick I have been using on the children to educate them on food is to do little food quiz's as we walk to school together. I believe that if the children have the knowledge of food's other than Hamburger's and Chicken Strips they are more likely to expand their taste range.
When waking with my daughter I ask her question's such as....
Is a Tomato a fruit or a vegetable?
What is a dried Grape called?
What colour are Carrot's?
These type of question's are designed to seem easy but we as parent's can add to the children's answers and make the children more interested or curious.
Making healthy eating fun, is maybe the most important factor in pursuing a healthy diet, my children are having a good time turning over the area of the garden which we are going to seed. I am looking forward to the children been enthusiastic every day, looking for the first sign of leaves and flowers. Although the food stuff I have planted will take a number of weeks before we can harvest, the anticipation for the day they can harvest their own healthy food , will be worth the constant questioning of " Are they ready yet Daddy?".
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