4 ways to encourage healthy eating habits in your kids
This post is sponsored by Organix.
As we were driving along in the car a few weeks ago my Miss 3 randomly started talking to me about sugar. “Sugar is bad for our teeth and bad for our bodies. It is a sometimes food,” she lectured from the back seat. I was impressed that the messages she was learning at preschool were obviously sinking in. And then, in almost the same breath she asked for a piece of chocolate. Maybe we have a little way to go…
Right from the time they are babies having their first tastes of food, through to the toddler years and beyond, you want to feed them with nutritious food that will give them the energy they need for all that growing and learning they do. But at the same time, it needs to be easy. You want to equip them with the information they will need to make good choices throughout their life but you are time poor or maybe you don’t even know yourself. Here are four ways you can encourage healthy habits in your kids.
Teach them about the power of food
In the lecture my 3-year-old gave me about sugar she mentioned that it is a sometimes food. And it is great that she knows this. But I also want her to know about the power of food to fuel her mind and body and to help her grow bigger and stronger every day. I make healthy food sound exciting by associating it with the amazing things it can do for you. Whenever she chooses a healthier option I make a comment like “just think of how long you will be able to run around for after that one” or “your muscles will love it when you eat that”. Explaining nutrition to kids in language they understand, such as how certain foods can help them do the things they love, is the way to go.
Snacks are an ideal opportunity to encourage healthy eating habits. They are also a really essential part of healthy eating for kids. If you aren’t prepared, you can find yourself caught out. There are a number of healthy snacks for kids that are easy to prepare and have on hand:
- Organix have a range of handy and tasty snack options available in the supermarket aisle. Our favourites are the Goodies Carrot Stix, Animal Biscuits and Baby Biscuits. The Fruit pots are also a good option for throwing in your bag along with a spoon for while out and about. All the Organix products carry the Organix No Junk Promise meaning that they contain nothing unnecessary and only the best organic ingredients.
- When you buy your fruit, bring it home and cut it up straight away. This works for fruit like watermelon, pineapple and grapes. You can also cut up some carrots and trim beans for easy kids healthy snacks. Then when “hanger” hits your kids, you can quickly grab a handful of fruit or vegetables to throw straight in a bowl for them.
- If your kids are keen to get into the kitchen, get them to help you make some snacks for the week. You might like to try:
- Banana, date and maple bliss balls – bliss balls are so easy for kids to roll and you can pack so much good stuff in them
- Cheesy mountain bread chips – this is a really easy recipe and the perfect alternative to salty chips
- Apricot balls – just like the ones you used to get at the school canteen but with no added sugar
- Lamb and mint sausage rolls – a more substantial snack and perfect for storing in the freezer
- Chicken rice paper rolls – prepare all the ingredients and get the kids to make their own. Also a great dinner option
- Homemade ice blocks – all made with fresh fruit and so tasty
Be a role model
Monkey see, monkey do. It’s really hard to teach your kids to make their bed every morning if you never make your own bed and the same goes with a healthy lifestyle. This isn’t about perfection and never having bad days or cutting chocolate from your life all together (the horror!). It is about normalising healthy choices for your kids. If you are lacking in knowledge of nutrition and healthy food choices, also take the opportunity to educate yourself. There is so much information available out there and some of my favourite blogs with information on nutrition, feeding kids and healthy family recipes are Play With Food, Stacey Clare – A Healthy Mum, Kidgredients and Energetic Mama. Your GP is also the perfect starting point for information and resources.
Get them involved
Involving kids in any process is usually a sure fire way to get them engaged and on board and food is no different.
- grocery shopping – take them with you and talk about the different fruits and vegetables. Let them put the apples in the bag or choose what fruit you will buy that week.
- meal planning – for older kids, give them a say in what meals your family will eat. Give them a cookbook to select recipes from or just ask what they want.
- cooking – I know that cooking with kids can be messy and frustrating but this is an amazing opportunity to teach them about food. When I am baking my daughter is responsible for tipping the ingredients into the mixer. When cooking dinner, she will pass the vegetables to me to chop or just sit and chat with me while I talk to her about the different foods I am preparing.
Once while at the shops I told my daughter what we were having for dinner to which she replied, “no I want soup”. I went with it and talked to her about the ingredients for soup while we walked around choosing them. When we got home she helped me cook the soup and actually ate it. That was a huge win that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t involve her in the process.
The Organix and Goodies ranges are available in Coles (Organix baby biscuits; Goodies Carrot Stix & Tomato Noughts & Crosses, Mini Oaty Bites, Animal Biscuits) and Woolworths (Organix baby biscuits and fruit pots; Goodies Carrot Stix, Cheese & Herb Puffs & Tomato Noughts & Crosses). Organix will be attending the World’s Biggest Playgroup Day
How do you encourage healthy eating habits in your kids?
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