Parent's Guide: 13 Tips to Cultivate Healthy Eating Habits in Kids

Instilling healthy eating habits in kids requires efforts by parents. By offering fibre-rich foods, being innovative with meals and being a role model, kids can develop good eating habits.

Harleen Kaur
New Update
Instilling healthy eating habits in kids requires innovative and mindful choices. By offering fibre-rich foods, and being a role model, kids can develop good eating habits. If soft drinks and cookies are not available at home, children will become opt for healthier options.

13 Tips to Cultivate Healthy Eating Habits in Kids

Feeding our children healthy food is a significant task, and as parents, we constantly ponder what and how to feed them. Often, in the search for suitable options, they end up consuming junk food, impacting their health and development. However, as mothers, we hold the power to instill good eating habits right from the toddler stage.

Instilling healthy eating habits in children demands ongoing commitment and thoughtful choices. By integrating these strategies into your family's routine, you can empower your children to cultivate lifelong habits of nutritious eating, laying the foundation for a healthier future.

Here are 13 proven strategies to foster nutritious eating habits in kids:

  1. Legumes, pulses, and lentils are a must: Make lentils, beans, grams, and pulses a regular part of meals, ensuring a robust source of essential nutrients and plant-based proteins. Incorporate lentils, beans, and grams into meals with creative twists like spinach-infused dals or lentil patties with hidden veggies. What is the “best” legume (beans, peas, lentils) to give to my child?⁠ ⁠  And my answer will always be VARIETY is best!… | Beans for babies, Baby  food recipes, Beans

  2. Ditch Cheesy Dips: Swap out cheesy dips for healthier alternatives like yoghurt-based or hummus dips, often jazzed up with grated cucumber or carrot, and bell pepper for a colourful twist. Recommended Reading: Easy Last-Minute Dips: Delicious Recipes for Party or Gatherings

  3. Treat Desserts as Rewards: Use desserts as post-meal treats only when a child has finished her nutritious balanced meal. Try fruity popsicles made from natural fruit juices, homemade yoghurt parfaits with fresh berries, or rice pudding with dates and nuts for healthier options for desserts. Craft energy balls with dates, nuts, and a dash of cocoa powder, serving as a nutritious yet indulgent snack. Pig Yogurt Bowls for Kids-Little Sprouts Learning

  4. Stop Criticizing and Start Implementing: You don't need to criticize kids for their eating habits. Instead, offer appealing, nutritious meals and snacks without blaming them. Encourage positive reinforcement by serving wholesome foods and gradually introducing new items. Make unhealthy food inaccessible to children. Like no chips, no coke, no cookies at home.

  5. Add fruits, fruits and more fruits:   Include at least two servings of fruits daily as delightful and nutritious snacks, providing natural sweetness and vital nutrients. Showcase fruits creatively, like crafting fruit skewers or making fruit kebabs with a drizzle of honey or a sprinkle of cinnamon for added delight.

    31 Stress-Free Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
    Credits// Academy of Culinary Nutrition
  6. Healthy Snacking: Encourage snacking on fruits, nuts, seeds, and fox nuts (makhana) rather than relying on chips or processed snacks. Create your trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, blending in your child's favourite nuts like almonds or walnuts. Recommended Reading: 15 Nutritious Snack Ideas for Toddlers

  7. Healthy Beverage Swaps: Substitute soft drinks with healthier options like lemonade, fresh fruit juices, jaljeera, buttermilk, or lassi for hydration without added sugars. Explore homemade smoothies using fresh fruits, veggies like spinach or kale, and a dollop of yoghurt for a creamy, tasty, and healthy drink.

  8. Meal Preference Over Chips: Chips aren't meals or even healthy snacks for everyday consumption. They're treats for our taste buds but not for health. Children can have chips only if snacks aren't readily available, or when traveling or in special circumstances. Swap regular chips for homemade baked veggie chips, such as sweet potato, multiseeds crackers, or pita chips seasoned lightly with spices. Homemade Whole Grain Crackers Recipe - NYT Cooking

  9. Family Meal Bonding: Plan and cook meals together, involve children in the meal planning process and discuss healthier alternatives if they ask for something less nutritious. Transform cooking into a family affair by preparing dishes like whole-grain mini pizzas topped with spinach, bell peppers, and a sprinkle of cheese, encouraging kids to enjoy the process of making and eating together. 6 Meal Recipes Perfect To Cook With Your Kids - Newsymom

  10. Lead by Example: Lead by Example: Establish a healthy eating model by making nutritious food choices yourself, and motivating your child to do the same. Modelling healthy eating habits is vital for kids. For instance, when my daughter sees me choosing a salad over chips as a snack, she's more inclined to opt for fruits or veggies. It's all about setting the right example

  11. Embrace Fiber-Rich food: Introduce dishes like quinoa salad bowls with colourful veggies, showcasing a spectrum of flavours and textures. Offer a variety of salads with beetroot, spinach, or chickpeas, tossing in a homemade dressing for added flavour while promoting good digestion.

  12. One Meal for Everyone: Create Unified Family Meals: Make One Meal for the Whole Family: Create a habit of having one meal for the entire family from the toddlerhood stage, promoting healthy eating habits that everyone can enjoy together. You can adjust spices and condiments according to preferences, but the meal itself remains the same for everyone.

  13. Get Creative with Meals: Infuse excitement into healthy eating by crafting thrilling sandwiches or rolls bursting with colourful veggies, igniting your child's enthusiasm for these nutritious and vibrant meals. Explore whole-wheat flour to craft lively spinach or beetroot parathas, moulding them into playful animal shapes using cookie cutters. Make food visually appealing for kids to relish. 

How to Choose More Tasty Whole Grains with Your Kids - American Institute  for Cancer Research % 


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