First of all, I would like to congratulate you on seeking your child´s health; it is very easy to deviate from this goal in the times we live in!
In this modern culture that surrounds us, buying everything “ready to eat” is very comfortable; but we need to ask ourselves how healthy it is to eat like this all of the time? In my experience, I became more aware of healthy eating once I became a parent.
My mom and older sister (who is also a mom) always told me, “you need to teach your child to eat, it is not something they just learn by themselves.”
So in the beginning, at around six months old you introduce your child to solids, and yes, that is only the beginning, and the most comfortable part I believe. The real challenge comes when they want to eat by themselves.
So the query remains, how do you inspire healthy eating in children? My answer is, you teach them by example.
Your Kid’s First Meals:
Initially, you would only feed your child solids once a day, depending on the country you live in your pediatrician will recommend what that first food should be; I was really surprised when my pediatrician told me that in certain nations fish is one of the first foods offered to a baby, WOW! Right?
For us, my baby’s first foods were carrots, and to this day she still loves them. We did a variety of vegetables during the first two months after she started eating; it was only after two months that we introduced meats (chicken breast in our case).
I am lucky enough to have a friend who is a child nutritionist, and I leaned on her for advice whenever I had doubts, also I always checked everything with my girl’s pediatrician that my friend and I have discussed.
We decided we did not want cereals to be introduced in my daughter’s diet too early, trying to remember the exact time she first tried oatmeal, I believe it was after ten months. It is not necessarily a recommendation; it is only how my experience has been so far.
Offer the Healthiest Food First:
I do not mean to tell you that I am a perfect parent whose child eats healthy all of the time, trust me I am far from this, especially during the weekends and family get-togethers.
But we do have one rule, for example, she gets fruit offered before cookies or crackers for snack time, vegetables before the bread during lunchtime, and protein before rice or potatoes for dinner.
Always Have Healthy Food Available:
Try to plan all the meals for a week ahead of time, maybe on every Sunday. In our house, there is always enough fresh and/or frozen fruits and vegetables. Also, we always stock up on whole wheat crackers instead of the regular ones.
Another house rule for us is we do not order something unless it is the weekend. That way we find it more challenging to have unhealthy food available and what we do have accessible will always be a healthier version than fast food for example.
Set an Example:
Our daughter does not have a different mealtime than us, she eats when we eat, or more like the other way around, she does have kind of a schedule for mealtime that we like to follow without many variations, we do not alter mealtimes for more than 30 minutes.
So, since we all eat together, we eat the same meals. There is no particular separate meal for the kids; we eat healthy so she can eat healthy as well.
I hope sharing my experience with you can be useful! What do you do to inspire healthy eating habits in your kids? Share your experience with everyone.
Hi, I´m Heidi and I am a Food Science and Technology Engineer with a Master´s Degree, but I am also a stay-at-home-mom. Up until very recently I worked for a multinational company, then I decided that I did not want to miss all the important milestones and quality time of my daughter, so I decided to become a freelancer. I love to do research, read and write articles about Food Benefits, and share my experiences and life-savior tips as a mom. Stay tuned to read parenting lessons, cooking tips, and much more.