10 easy ways to follow a "healthy diet" for children

10 easy ways to follow a "healthy diet" for children

Creating a healthy home might be easier than you think.

Creating a nutritionally healthy home is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your child's health. To get started, make smart food choices and help your child develop a positive relationship with healthy food. Your children will learn their food intelligence from your example.

Here are 10 top tips to make children eat healthy food:

1. Don't restrict food.

Restricting food increases your child's risk of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia later in life. It can also hurt growth and development. Also, by restricting food, you will already increase the risk of overeating later in the day, which will lead to weight gain.

2. Keep healthy food handy.

Children will eat what is readily available. Keep the fruit in a bowl on the counter, without burying it in the most fragile part of your fridge. Remember that your child can only choose the foods you store at home by limiting "junk food," and you will by default teach your child how to choose healthy foods.

3. Foods are not classified as "good" or "bad."

Instead, connect foods to things your child cares about, such as sports, academics, and hobbies. Let your child know that lean proteins such as turkey and calcium in dairy products give strength to his athletic and academic performance, antioxidants in fruits and vegetables add glamour to the skin and hair, and carbs in whole grains will give him the energy to play.

4. Praise healthy choices.

Give your kids a proud smile and tell them how smart they are when they choose healthy foods. Children thrive on positive reinforcement!

5. Don't grumble about unhealthy choices.

If your child frequently chooses unhealthy foods, ignore them. However, if your child always wants fried, greasy food, redirect the option. You can try roasting potato sticks in the oven (dumped in a little oil) instead of buying fries. Or, if your child wants candy, you may make fresh strawberries dipped in a little chocolate sauce. Too busy? Then keep the naturally sweet dried fruit at home for quick snacks. With a steady effort, taste buds change, and your child soon craves healthy foods.

6. Do not use food as a reward.

This can create weight problems later in life. Instead, reward your children with something physical and fun—maybe a trip to the park or a fast hunting game.

7. Sit down for family dinner at night.

If this is not a tradition in your home, it should be. Research shows that children who dine at the table with their parents enjoy better nutrition and are less likely to have serious problems as teenagers. Start one night a week, then work up to three or four to gradually build this habit.

8. Dishes are served in the kitchen.

There, you can put healthy parts of each item on everyone's dinner plate. Your children will learn to recognize the right part sizes. People often go for seconds and even thirds just because the food is there. You may notice that you need less food to feel full!

9. Give the kids some control.

Ask your children to eat three bites of all the foods on their plate and give them a score, such as A, B, C, D, or F. When healthy foods, particularly certain vegetables, receive high marks, they are frequently served. Introduce items that your children dislike regularly. This allows your children to participate in decision-making. After all, eating is a family affair!

10. Consult your pediatrician.

Always talk to your child's doctor before putting your child on a diet, trying to help your child gain weight, or making any significant changes in the type of food your child is eating. Don't diagnose your child as too heavy or too thin on your own. If weight change is recommended, seek the help of a dietitian.


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