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The eating habits we develop as kids stay with us as we transition into adulthood and parenthood. As kids start choosing their own snacks and meals, it’s important to teach them healthy eating habits that will stick with them throughout their lives.
While you’re probably not going to teach your kids about macro-nutrient balance and the importance of calcium right away, there are a few things you can show them to encourage healthy eating habits.
Keep fresh fruits and vegetables in plain sight – on counter tops and at eye-level in the fridge – so when your kids want a snack, they’re the first thing they see. Kid-friendly fruits and vegetables include mandarins, bananas, and pre-cut celery and carrot sticks with ranch dressing.
If it’s a special occasion that warrants dessert, try strawberry banana fruit popsicles instead of sugar cookies.
Fruit juice might sound healthy, but it is one of the sugariest drinks you can give your kids. Reach for water between meals, milk at every meal, and sparkling water for special occasions. For added flavor, toss lemons, limes, orange, cucumbers, or mint into a tall glass of ice water.
Water will keep them hydrated without excess sugar, and milk will increase their protein and calcium intake.
Teach your kids about the rainbow! The rainbow eating methodology is the idea of eating as many colors in a meal as possible. Have your kids choose a few colors per meal, and fill their plate with those colors of fruits and veggies.
Take your kids to the grocery store and let them help you select produce. Have them see the fruits and vegetables, learn about what each is, and what to look for in a ripe product.
Have fun with it. When you see an exotic starfruit, teach your kids about what they are and where they come from. Eat it as a family and savor the sweetness!
Try to avoid saying that certain foods are “good” or “bad.” This negativity may teach your kids to feel guilty after some meals which can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food down the road.
Bake cookies, have a hot dog at the ballpark, and share some ice cream on Friday movie night. But teach your kids balance – a fresh, veggie-packed salad for dinner can be the perfect healthy precursor to a rich dessert.
Arguably the best way to teach your kids healthy eating habits is to eat healthy yourself. Kids watch and learn from you, so if you’re cooking, exercising, and buying healthy ingredients, your kids will naturally lean towards healthy food as well.
Teaching kids about eating healthy can be a fun, rewarding experience! Help them develop their palette and preferences with healthy staples like a2 Milk®.