You should make your preschoolers realize the importance of good nutrition because it:
- Provides them with sustained energy to play during the day.
- Provides the ability to focus on studies and think clearly.
- Strengthens their bones and teeth.
- Reduces their risk of diseases caused by nutritional deficiencies such as dermatitis (B-complex vitamin deficiency).
- Helps them maintain a healthy weight.
- Prevents them from developing chronic diseases such as diabetes early on in life.
- Prevents them from becoming cranky or irritable.
4 strategies to improve your kid’s eating habits
Four strategies that can improve your kid’s eating habits include:
- Ensure their diet contains all the important nutrients:
- It is recommended that children consume at least five servings of vegetables and fruits per day. Make sure that your child’s plate is filled with colorful fruits and veggies at every meal. Look for fresh produce. You can find them in grocery stores, local farmer’s markets, and in subscription boxes.
- For snacks, serve them with one or more options such as low-fat yogurt, peanut butter, and celery or whole-grain crackers and cheese. Give them protein-rich sources to eat such as lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts.
- Limit their intake of foods made from refined flour such as white bread and white pasta. Instead, make them indulge in whole-grain foods such as whole-grain bread and cereals. This will provide them with more fiber, which is necessary for smooth digestion and keeping them away from weight gain or obesity.
- Limit their intake of fried foods such as French fries or fried chicken. Adopt healthier cooking methods, such as broiling, steaming, grilling, and roasting.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free versions of dairy products. In your attempt to keep your kids minimizing their consumption of foods that are high in fats and low in nutrition, do not make them feel deprived of their favorite items. Keep foods such as chips, candies, and pastries as something that can be consumed once in a while.
- Instead of serving soda and sugary drinks to your kids, make them drink water and low-fat milk.
- Be creative:
- Plan weekly meals together. Use this time to discuss the benefits of healthy eating to your child.
- Whenever you go grocery shopping, take your kid with you and read nutrition labels together. Make them decide and pick up nutritious products.
- Involve them in cooking. Cooking meals together can make them understand that what they eat matters.
- Stock up on healthy foods. Kids will first try to eat whatever is made available to them in your cabinets and refrigerators. Therefore, make sure you pile up your cabinet with healthy foods.
- Plan family meals:
- Family meals can provide a relaxing time for both parents and kids. Kids who engage in family meals are:
- Do not pick battles over food:
- Do not let mealtimes or food become a source of conflict between you and your preschooler. You may have good intentions, but going to any lengths such as bribing kids into eating healthy food is not something you should do. That means not offering dessert as the reward for eating the meal.
- Don’t force them to eat when they are not hungry. Do not ask them to overeat when they indicate they are feeling full after having a specific portion of the meal.
- Many parents use food as a way of showing love to their kids. Hug kids, spend time with them, or praise them for listening to you. These are some of the healthy gestures that can replace food for expressing your affection to your kids.
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