Food is something that keeps us going. It is the fuel that keeps our body in shape. But, there are times when the very food that we eat can harm us and then it depends on our own awareness and judgement to choose the best.
It is also very important to guide our children on growing a healthy food habit, as there are too many attractions (or rather distractions) around us that can easily pull them towards unhealthy eatables.
This World Food Day, let's take the vow to give our children the most nutritive food, so that they grow as healthy individuals tomorrow. It really depends on how we shape the future with our own hands.
Convincing kids about good or bad foods is not an easy task. With their growing sense of judgement, they will decide themselves which food is good and which isn't. And which is tasty will also be praised as a good food. Making up stories is also not going to work for longer. Growing up kids will find the truth after sometime. Neither will scolding them work.
So, when neither the truth or false about unhealthy foods is going to help you, what do you do to protect your children from harmful junk for which they have grown a taste?
The solution, hence, lies in laying foundation of healthy consumption and nurturing a good eating habit collectively.
Here are five such ways by which you can teach your kids on how to get rid of the attraction towards junk, valueless food:
1. Always Stress On Preparing Food At Home: Always give that extra effort to prepare food at home, especially when you have kids. If you often go out or bring food from outside because you feel too lazy to make it, it is the children who will suffer the most. Neither will they grow a healthy habit of eating healthy and hygienic food made at home, nor will they be able to lead a healthy life. Even if you have little ingredients to prepare a good dish at home, yet stick to them.
2. Involving Children In Shopping Vegetables: This is a very important step to nurture a good eating habit among children. Take them to shopping for fruits, vegetables and other eatables. If they pick nutritious food items, praise them; if they don't, explain to them why that particular food is not good for their health. Sometimes, even buy an odd packet or too that they pick up at a store, so that they do not feel being let down and lose interest in the entire exercise.
3. Involve Children While Cooking At Home: Follow up the collective shopping that you did by cooking the ingredients that you have bought. Cook the healthy food items that your kid picked in a tasty manner, so that they grow a liking for it and it becomes a regular parcel of their diet.
If your kids are a bit grown up., you can also help them learn to cook simple things, so that they get familiar with various ingredients that we eat and their positive effects on our health. It is very important to get the kids familiar with cooking and eating as a continuous process. This way, they will also learn to value the effort that you give to make their daily meals and will not ignore it as they used to do before.
4. Pack The Kids Lunch Boxes In Attractive Ways: Since the clean packaging of outside food is what attracts the kids the most, try to present before them homemade foods in as attractive packages as possible. Use aluminium foils to roll or cover the food. Give water in attractive bottles, so that they don't feel discouraged. Packaging makes even the worse thing sell like hot cakes. The same holds true for children.
5. Have Meals Together And Discuss About Healthy Food Choices: Don't ignore the dining set in your family, no matter how odd the timing is of each family member. Meet over food at least once in a day and give a space to healthy food in your discussions. The kids will not take interest in the beginning, but slowly they will. It is never too early to teach kids about what makes for a good health. Besides telling them stories about a 'Super Broccoli' or 'Powerful Fish' to tease their imagination can also project before them the unhealthy side of the story, like how a 'Sugar Witch' or 'Junk Demon' can threaten their health.
So, these steps will help you minimise your kids' intake of poor and unhealthy food to some degree. Yes, the pampering they receive from their grandparents and others will continue to spoil them, but that doesn't mean your initiative to make them aware will go in vain.