Healthy eating habits were forced on me as a kid. There are a few stories about me from my childhood that circulate through my family often, even now. Mind you, I am 37. One is about how when I was little, I would never eat the food I was given and would sit and hold it in my cheek for hours.
It was a battle of wills between me and whichever adult was unlucky enough to be taking care of me at the time. I remember sitting alone in the kitchen with food in my mouth while everyone else went about their day.
We always had healthy, home made food. Needless to say, us kids we always begged for junk food. Fast food was a rarity. Even “junky” treats were home made. As a tween/teen I lost my mind spending my little money on unhealthy foods I didn’t get to try out as a child.
Now, as an adult in Mom mode, I am all about ensuring my kids create healthy eating habits, but I allow some treats along the way.
Here are a few tips to help you encourage healthy eating habits in your children:
Model healthy eating habits
Praise Good Choices
I’m all about the praise. Rohan loves salads so I heap on the praise when he eats them, even though it’s a given. I can then use it as a reminder to trigger healthy eating habits when he has a pile of green beans on his plate that he is not so keen on. Kaya acts like vegetables are poison. She acts like meat is poison as well. OK, if I’m honest, she acts like eating anything that isn’t toast or noodles will end her life. So with her I cajole her into trying a tiny bite of a meal and then give her lots of praise for doing so. (It’s exhausting, but helping her venture out of her box with food choices and develop those healthy eating habits.)
Get the Kids Involved
Having kids help cook meals is great. Giving them a choice between two veggies is great as well. Getting your kids involved in the meal helps them take ownership and be more likely to eat the healthy choices, generating lifelong healthy eating habits, with no fuss.
This can go much deeper than the tactics above. You can have your kids help you with meal planning for the week and grocery shopping as well as picking herbs or veggies from your garden if available. Teaching your children about food and where it comes from when they’re not at the kitchen table helps them feel more in control of their choice to eat it when they are sitting down for the meal.
Don’t Make Foods “Bad”
We know there are some foods that are healthier to our bodies than others, but if we make some foods the good guys and some the bad guys, kids may develop a bipolar, all or nothing relationship with food. Developing healthy eating habits involves seeing foods in a balanced way.
A more objective, nutrition-based view of food, or taking a “how I feel” approach may help. Explain what certain foods do inside the body and ask your kids to describe how they feel after eating certain foods. (You may have to prompt them a bit because they may say “great!!” after they eat a huge bowl of candy.)
Lie & Cheat
Growing up we didn’t eat sweets very often. We didn’t often have treats that were store bought. Home made cookies and brownies, even ice cream that my gram made in this huge ice cream maker with a big spinning arm on it.
I allow treats but I am getting more and more selective of what I will offer Rohan and Kaya. Cat Island Cookie and Cracker Company is a 100% natural brand that I feel comfy giving the kids. They make cookies and crackers in many flavors and they are all free of preservatives with no artificial flavors added.
We have been munching on them for a while and have found our favorites. The savory cheese crackers are John’s favorite because they are low carb. I like em too. The spicy asiago flavor is dope, and legit spicy.
This one is John’s favorite.
You can win a prize pack from Cat Island featuring all their delicious flavors!!!
Visit the site and read the story about how they started. PS it is a woman owned company! #girlpower
Come back and leave me a comment below on which flavors (not shown in this post) you would like to try.
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Giveaway ends 12/21/18! One entry per household. US only. 18yrs+
Good Luck, friends!
This post and giveaway is sponsored by Cat Island and all words, images, and all related tomfoolery are my own.