Teaching your children to eat healthily can seem like an overwhelming task. However much you try to offer healthy options, they naturally reach for the biscuits, the chips, the cakes. They automatically choose the unhealthy option. Actually, when you know how and are in the habit of doing so, it’s easy to feed your children a healthy diet.
Welcome to Dr Orlena Kerek who has kindly provided Crafty Kids at Home with a 3-part series all about developing healthy eating habits from an early age.
Dr Orlena Kerek is a pediatric doctor and mother of four young children. She writes about developing healthy habits from an early age, especially healthy eating habits. She believes in fun healthy food the stress free way. You can find her over at Snotty Noses.
Part 1 – Why Bother to Feed you Kids a Healthy Diet?
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
First of all, let’s take a step back. Let us have a look at the situation from afar. I want you to let go of all the stress that is involved around eating, especially eating healthy foods.
Let me explain.
Why do you want your children to eat a healthy diet? Yes, I know it’s important, but WHY is it important? What are you, or more importantly your children going to gain from eating healthily?
The Short Term Benefits of Feeding your Children a Healthy Diet
First of all, there are what we call “short term benefits”. Those are all the good things that your children will get right now and in the immediate future. For children, that’s avoiding being constipated (which is a big problem and very painful). Plus they will avoid childhood weight problems and obesity.
If your children don’t suffer from the above, why bother? Surely they can just start to eat healthily as an adult and fill up on junk as a child? In theory, that could happen. The reality is that it doesn’t. Our eating habits form as children. We can change them as adults, but most people don’t.
The Long Term Benefits of Feeding your Children a Healthy Diet
The other group of benefits that we get are called “long term benefits” and those are the ones that we’ll see when our children are adults. This is where healthy eating REALLY pays off. The benefits here are HUGE.
If you eat healthily, you have less chance of being overweight (you won’t be overweight unless you have medical problem), you are unlikely to get type 2 diabetes, you have much less chance of heart disease. And here’s the icing on the cake, you have a reduced risk of getting lots of cancers.
Developing Healthy Eating Habits
In short, you are more likely to live longer AND live a healthy, active life. Awesome eh? Just from eating fruit and vegetables and less junk.
This may make you feel stressed about making sure that your children eat healthily but actually it’s great news. You have time on your side. It doesn’t matter right now if they don’t eat that carrot, that bit of broccoli. It doesn’t matter if they eat one too many biscuits, or only have bread for lunch.
What is important is that you teach them to enjoy healthy food. You teach them to want to eat vegetables. You teach them that junk food is a treat, not everyday food.
You teach them healthy eating habits.
Habits don’t form overnight. It takes time to teach your children to eat healthily. That’s OK, you have their entire childhood.
I’m not saying you should forget about it and come back to in when they’re 18. Quite the opposite. I’m saying you need to work on it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
You don’t need to get upset that they don’t automatically reach for the broccoli. You don’t need to get upset that they ask for biscuits.
They are kids. That’s normal.
You just need to keep presenting the healthy food, every single day, with patience and persistence. Don’t worry, don’t stress, don’t pressurise them.
Present them with the healthy food and allow them to be in control of what they choose to eat. Or not eat.
And yes, that’s present them with healthy food. Not junk.
Coming up next week: What is a Healthy Diet for Children?
For further information you might find Dr Orlena’s E-books of interest (affiliate links)