Only if every child in the world eats their food without throwing tantrums, every parent’s life would be much easier. It’s a wonderful wish. But let’s face it – children can be fussy eaters and it is our job as parents to cultivate healthy eating habits right from their childhood. What you feed to your kids contributes a great deal to their physical, emotional, behavioral and mental well-being.

So, how can you as parents gear up for this herculean task and manage to get your kids healthy? First’ let’s start with what actually constitutes as healthy food for your children and then look at some tips to make them consume it.  

What to Feed your Kids

With the buzz of daily life, it is easy to forget about your children’s nutrition. That too with so much junk food present everywhere, it makes it easier for your children to get their hands on quick food that is devoid of nutrients.

1. First, let’s start with what not to give

Processed food and any food that can sit on a shelf and not decompose for a year is not something fit for consumption. Foods that contain MSG, hydrogenated oils like vegetable, canola, etc, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, processed grains are a big no-no. So, this basically knocks out any kind of fast food, junk food, microwaveable food, artificial juices.

Are you thinking what’s really left? Here are some healthy foods to give your kids:

2. Natural Sources of Protein

Proteins are the building blocks of cells in our body. So it’s absolutely vital for your kids to consume them as they are still forming bones and muscles. Healthy meats of unadulterated chicken, fish, turkey, and eggs are good sources. If you are vegan, you can opt for beans, lentils, and legumes. For example, a bowl of sprouted pulses can easily meet the protein requirement for your kids.


3.  Fruits and Veggies

Despite the widely acknowledged fact that natural vegetables and fruits reduce the risk of almost every disease, we still are not getting our kids to consume it. As parents, you have to stress the importance of eating them and get more of it on their plate.

Especially leafy greens of spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, okra, beets, carrot are some important veggies for kids that are high on several key nutrients. Also colorful fruits like berries, bananas, apple, grapes, pomegranate, peaches and even dried fruits like prunes, raisins, dates, and cranberries can be served as natural treats for your kids.

4. Healthy Fats

Some parents pass on their low-fat diet fads onto their children with good intentions. However, that can actually be bad, since restricted fat diet in kids can lead to health problems, vitamin deficiency, and ADHD. A lack of necessary dietary fats and saturated fats can lead to a reduction in the myelin sheath that forms a protective coating on the brain cells. This can lead to an imbalance in brain signals which can present itself as ADHD or ADD.

Some great sources of healthy fats include ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Avoid trans fat, engineered fats of vegetable oil, hydrogenated oil, and shortening.

How to make your child eat healthy

Now that you know what to feed your children, how do you actually get them to eat this stuff? Here are some suggestions to make the switch to good food.

1. Don’t Impose on them

Forcing your kids to make the switch is a recipe for rebellion and resentment. Be gradual with the changes by introducing healthy new foods each meal in a day, while continuing to serve one or two familiar foods. Let them try a new food and increase their exposure to healthy choices. Also, stock your pantry and fridge with a variety of tasty and wholesome options and make sure to ditch the junk.

2. Entice your kids to love veggies

Sneak in greens to a fruit smoothie for a healthy nutrition boost. If your child like potatoes a lot, add in small amounts of new vegetable like cauliflower to it so that they will eat it. Add in healthy flavors to a bland vegetable with creative garnishes and spices to make it more interesting. You can also try to make the food more presentable like a smiley face to attract them.

3. Don’t Reward with Food

It is very common for parents to award their children with chocolate, treats for good grades or good behavior. This sets an association with food and a feeling of achievement or happiness and thus sends out a wrong message. Let other things replace foods as rewards like a family outing, going to the park, etc.

4. Teach them to Make the Right Choices and Get Them Involved

Kids are fast learners and if we explain them about how broccoli or spinach will make them stronger and sharper, there is a better chance of a better response. Put the food on their plates and explain to them how it is healthy and the importance of good eating choices. Help them to make the connection between food and how they feel after eating them. For example, you can also point out how the gooey pastry your child ate could be the reason for a tummy ache that struck afterward. You can read out books to them about healthy eating in a creative way and make them understand easily. Also, make them involved in the kitchen as they are more likely to eat food that they help to prepare.

5. Make Home Cooking a Priority

At times it can be difficult with all the commitments and priorities but think about the rewards. You get to spend quality time eating together and a fresh cooked homemade meal is more nutritious than other unhealthy options. Remember that you are responsible for the food in your house and you have the authority to make all the difference in your children’s lives.

It requires a lot of efforts to develop the right eating habits in your children. But you can be rest-assured for making the right decision when you see visible changes. So, buck up and win your kids over to healthy foods for a bright future.

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