Build better eating habits with these tips and tricks for a more balanced meal for kids
Feeding kids and ensuring that they’re getting a healthy diet regularly is nothing short of a monumental challenge. There’s no denying that some treats and deviation from healthy food is okay once in a while, but it’s important to make sure that the majority of their diet consists of nutrients and food groups. Here are some great tips to remember when creating well-balanced meals for kids and for getting them to eat them:
Get your kids involved in the process
Depending on their age, you can get your kids involved in the process of preparing their meals. This makes them feel a deeper sense of involvement, and ownership, hence more excitement and interest in consuming it.
It also helps educate them and learn more about what is going into their bodies and what’s ending up on their plates. You can also involve them in other tasks such as cleaning, organizing, and sorting out groceries, washing dishes, etc., so they’re connected at every step.
Include all major food groups in meals
This goes for kids as well as adults. A meal is only truly balanced when there is a good combination of all major food groups on the plate. That means carbs, protein, fats, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Don’t make just one food group the star or kids may react, get bored, or dislike the meal before them. Try to keep a bit of everything.
Keep changing things up for variety
Not even adults can eat the same meal day in and day out, so why would kids enjoy that? Mixing things up is the key to creating balanced eating and meals, allowing you to bring in different ingredients, staple items, and switching up flavors and textures. Try a new vegetable a few times a week, or the same vegetable in different ways, swap the source of dairy in your food or try a different type of carbohydrate. Don’t be afraid to play around, get creative with combinations, and mix and match.
Use colors and textures to make it fun
Speaking of changing things up, a great way to do that is by playing with color, texture, and taste. If you’re stressed out or worried by the idea of cooking up something new each time, think about it as something that will appeal to your kids. Veggies on their own may not, but red veggies and fruits together may be pretty enough to devour. Think out of the box!
Model good behavior as role models
Monkey see monkey do, they say! Until you set the example and give your kids a positive role model and example to follow, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll fully embrace the habits you’re building. If all they see you eat is carbs, junk food, caffeine, and soda, they won’t give a hoot about vegetables—model behavior by eating better, limiting unnecessary and unhealthy snacks, and sharing meals as a family.
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