Hi Jess! Being a parent sometimes comes with mealtime rollercoasters. I was wondering if you had any key pointers for instilling healthy eating habits in my little ones?
As a parent, encouraging a positive relationship with food and nutrition can feel like climbing a mountain at times, but it’s a climb worth making. The earlier you start laying the foundation for healthy habits with your children, the better.
Your child will navigate the early stages of developing preferences – cue the ‘I love chocolate but hate broccoli’ phase – but don’t worry, there are ways for you to be a positive role model and set up those healthy habits for life. It’s all about the environment you create.
Here’s my 5 top tips for encouraging positive nutrition habits in kids:
Remember, children are like sponges, soaking up everything in their surroundings. They observe, listen and follow what they see. As the role model, ensure you’re embracing a balanced diet including fruit, vegetables, wholegrains in your meals. These choices will leave a lasting impression on them.
Invite your little ones into the kitchen, give them an apron and nurture a genuine interest in nutrition. They can play a role in meal planning and cooking, providing a sense of ownership, fuelling their curiosity to try new things.
Spice up the appeal of fruit and veg, and make them less of a chore and more of a fun experience. Experiment with roasted baby carrots for a snack or get creative with combinations like dipping apple slices into peanut butter.
Introduce your child to a wide range of foods, keeping their options diverse and adventurous. Keep in mind that it might require a few tries for them to warm up to new flavours. Embracing variety will enrich their plate and offer an open-minded approach to eating.
Make regular meals a priority by setting specific meal times for your child, and promoting a consistent eating pattern. Whenever possible, create a family-friendly set up, eat at the dinner table, switch off the TV, and add a touch of fun.
Avoid strict rules and bans on specific foods for your kids, this not only creates a negative vibe around food, but can make the forbidden more appealing. Instead, opt for a more relaxed approach, steering clear of using food as a bribe for a more positive approach to eating.
Keep away from using negative language about food and weight when chatting with your kids. Shift from saying things like ‘chocolate is bad for you and makes you fat” and try to make mealtimes more fun with positive language that reinforces the habits you want to build.
When shaping healthy nutrition habits for kids, the secret lies in making the experience enjoyable.
There are many tips to use, from setting a good example yourself, to involving them in the kitchen – transforming what used to be a battle into a fun and engaging experience. Remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits- all solution with this, it may take a bit of trial and error to see what works best for you and your family.
Jessica Stansfield, RNutr
Junior Nutrition Manager
To share with your friends, log in is required so that we can verify your identity and reward you for successful referrals.Log in to your account If you don't have a store account, you can create on here
Use #huel in your Huel photos for the chance to feature on our Instagram