Instilling healthy eating habits right from when your child does not even know how to talk is necessary in order to create a healthy eating pattern that can last a lifetime. As a result, it can positively affect your child’s health. Naturally, you’ll want to give your child the best nutrition to start out right. Here are some basic tips that can be used, whether your child is still in his first 1000 days, or just if you want to start your child on the right foot every day.
Introduce fruits and vegetables early
Undeniably, the vitamins and minerals present in fruits and vegetables cannot be replaced in any other form. Thus, blending various fruits and vegetables to get a great tasting puree is a great start to a child’s early years. If your child is older, complement the usual eggs on toast with a glassful of blended fruit and vegetables. Some recipes that you can find online are really delicious, and you can just start with a small cup of about 200ml to introduce fruits and vegetables right from the start of the day. Then, identify different types of vegetables that your child seems to prefer, and make that a favourite treat in replacement of snacks, if it is feasible – like carrot sticks and cherry tomoatoes.
Stick to the clock
There’s nothing worse than preparing an absolutely balanced and yummy meal, only to have your toddler refuse it, or your older child say that he’s not hungry. Make sure meal times are consistent as unnecessary snacking can upset your child’s food clock. This could include a random intake of sweet drinks or even just one piece of cookie. Of course, sticking to meal times like clockwork is not always possible – with football practices and ballet classes that don’t end when they’re supposed to, added with the horrible traffic, just do your best to make sure meal times are not sabotaged so that your child’s digestive system also sets in to a healthy rhythm. For older teenagers, ensure they aren’t snacking in their rooms or drinking a cola as their daily routine.
Ensure children stick to their bedtimes
As with a routine for mealtimes, fixed bedtimes are important too. Allowing your child to stay up later than usual (on weekends and school holidays, for example) just means that their body is working overtime. This could mean they start to feel hungry if they stay up, something that they won’t usually feel since they would be bed already. Thus, the usual easy solution is to have a snack (usually unhealthy and high in sugar) and that would encourage unhealthy snacking. So, keep to their bedtimes and even if you want to allow them some leeway on weekends, anything more than an hour would be too much.
Just these 3 tips will make a huge difference to the nutritional intake and pattern of your child and your family. Don’t be over-ambitious, but try these 3 steps and once they are set in like clockwork, then you can be more assured of a healthy eating lifestyle that your child will continue when he is older. The bonus is that everyone – from parent to child – works with a routine so expectations are managed, leading to a happier, healthier family.