Eating habits that we develop as a child tend to have a huge effect on us even after we have grown old. Studies show that our relationship with food as kids determines our eating habits when we grow up. While good habits and healthy food choices help us stay healthy, eating too much junk food can affect our health and bring on serious consequences.
This being said, prompting kids to eat healthy food is not easy in today’s time and age especially with all the innovative ways the junk food companies tend to market themselves with. Moreover, let’s just admit the bitter truth that junk food comes packed with additives that make them more tempting than any regular healthy snack we have around. But does this mean that we give up and keep feeding our kids with junk food when we have so many healthier option around?
Certainly not. So, how do you deal with a child who has developed a taste of junk food and help him replace it with good nutritious food instead? Let us find that out.
1. Get rid of all the junk
The first way to make sure that your kid doesn’t go around eating such unhealthy food is to not keep any at home. Stop buying foods that are full of unhealthy fats, preservatives, and chemicals that are doing nothing but harming his body. This would also include food that may sound healthy but is not nutritious enough like fruit juices etc.
2. Keep around healthy snacks
This would include vegetables, fruits, homemade treats and things that would actually be adding on to the nutritional content of his body. Keeping such things around and in sight when your kid goes out looking for junk food would make him want to try them out as well. The trick is to place them closer and in reach of your children. Arrange them in creative ways that are bound to catch their attention. You can even try out making some of the foods that they like at home for them instead of going for store-bought products. This would also give you the freedom of cutting them and preparing them in different shapes that would enhance your child’s learning curves and be reminiscent of something they can actually relate to.
3. Never bargain
Are we not always in the habit of making our kids listen to us by offering them something they like as a bargaining chip? It usually is their favorite burger, their favorite chocolate or some other such junk food item. But this is something you need to stop doing from now on. As per parenting experts, food should never be used as a bargaining chip for the kids since it gives them a chance to do things that will earn them their kind of favorite food ( read junk food). To instill good eating habits, always use non-food rewards on the negotiating table. It could be an hour of play time, a trip to their favorite theme park or them choosing this week’s movie: anything as long as it doesn’t involve food.
4. Be the example
Kids are known to learn more from our actions than the words we say. This means that in order for them to change their habits, you would have to change yours too. Start by becoming a model they would follow and look up to. Incorporate healthy snacks in your diet, a good sized portion of fruits and vegetables in your meals and switch to healthier alternatives of junk food items that they like. This is going to prompt them to follow your path and do what you do too.
5. Talk to them
You might think that your kids are not old enough to understand but they are. Try talking to them about the hazards of junk food using terminologies that they would understand. Make them watch related videos and infographics that will help them understand why eating healthy food is important. You can even make sure that while they are still going through this change, you do not expose them to unnecessary advertisements that promote junk food and unhealthy eating habits in us.
When you talk about healthy living, the change needs to start early and with the right knowledge that would allow you to take the right measures. Cutting out junk food from life may sound difficult at first but once you get to it, achieving your goal shouldn’t be that difficult.