3 Ways to Raise a Healthy Eater
One of the big questions moms often have is, “How can I get my child to eat and enjoy healthy foods?” We know how tough it can be to feed a family of growing children with different likes and dislikes when it comes to food. This is where You’re the Mom comes in, and we’re here to tell you that healthy eating doesn’t have to be a struggle, and it doesn’t have to happen overnight. Small changes when it comes to your child’s diet can make a big impact.
In this blog post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can encourage your child to eat healthier that will have a big impact in the long term and will help you to raise a happy, healthy eater.
What it is: A mealtime routine is the idea of eating meals together as a family at the same time each day, in the same place each day. Family snack times are a great idea too!
Why it’s important: Having a mealtime routine is a great way to give your child’s day structure and to spend time together as a family. Structure and routine around mealtimes are important ways of supporting your child’s sense of autonomy. Autonomy is the idea that a child can make choices for themselves and is good for their development, because it encourages positive self-esteem.
How you can do it: Talk to your family about what time works best for everyone to eat a meal together during the week. Too busy for family dinners every night? That’s okay! Try Sunday family dinners, or Saturday morning family breakfast, or a different day of the week and meal that works best for you.
What it is: Having your child to help you cook meals and make snacks is a great way to build their confidence in the kitchen and to teach them about nutrition and healthy ingredients.
Why it’s important: Including your child in cooking and preparing snacks helps them to become more competent with making and handling different foods. Competence is important because it gives a child confidence in their skills and abilities. When you help your child to become more comfortable with cooking and handling food, they are more likely to want to do it more often!
How you can do it: Some ways to involve your child in meal and snack preparation at home are having them wash vegetables, organize the ingredients for the dish, or read the recipe to you if they’re old enough. Even just talking to your child and explaining what you’re doing as you cook is awesome!
Giving your child a choice:
What it is: Moms know that when their child is given unlimited choice, it can be overwhelming for them. When it comes to food, giving your child free rein can result in them making an unhealthy choice. But choice can be a good thing for children when they are presented with a guided choice. A guided choice is when a parent selects the options that their child can choose from, and then the child gets to pick which one they’d like to eat.
Why it’s important: By giving your child a guided choice, you are giving them the chance to make a decision for themselves, which supports their autonomy, while still making sure that the option that they choose is a healthy one. It’s a mom win-win!
How you can do it: Try giving your child a guided choice by asking if they’d like to have green beans or broccoli as their side dish with dinner tonight, or if they’d like to have an apple or an orange as their afternoon snack. You can also try it in the grocery store if you bring your child shopping.
These are just a few small ways you can encourage your child to become a lifelong healthy eater. Hopefully they make your work as a mom easier, too!