Tips for Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits with Your Kids Both at Home and with the Help of An Ottawa Daycare
A healthy eating habit may take some time to develop, but it can stick with kids throughout their lives. A healthy and balanced diet for kids will improve physical and cognitive health, moderate energy levels, and help them feel better overall. It is important to help kids enjoy healthy foods both at home and away from home, including at daycare. Since proper nutrition is an important part of healthy child development, quality daycares in Ottawa will prepare healthy meals for kids according to the Canada Food Guide. In addition to following the Canada Food Guide, use these tips for encouraging healthy eating habits for your kids so they can enjoy the many benefits of eating well.
Avoid packaged and processed foods.
Stick with whole natural foods that are minimally processed. Refined sugars, carbs, and trans fats are found in processed foods and drinks, and are very harmful to kids’ overall health and well-being.
Only have healthy snacks available.
If your kids have the choice between a healthy snack and an unhealthy snack, they may opt for the saltier/sweeter option. So, don’t give them a choice, and only have the healthier option available.
Get help from the kids while shopping and cooking.
Make shopping for and cooking healthy food fun so your kids will be more likely to enjoy their meals. Let them choose produce and help out in the kitchen while teaching them about healthy eating. They will be proud of their work and want to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Eat more home-cooked meals.
While eating out can be very convenient, especially for busy schedules, there are often unhealthy ingredients in take-out and restaurant foods that you can’t control. Instead, take a moment of your free time on the weekends to cook a large healthy meal that will last for a few days. Or freeze leftovers for easy cooking on those extra busy evenings.
Follow the same healthy diet as your kids.
Like the saying, “Monkey see, monkey do”, your kids look up to you and will be influenced by your actions, including your eating habits. So, instead of only feeding them healthy food, eat the same food too, so you won’t provide conflicting ideas about how to eat.
Sneak healthy foods.
Incorporate healthy foods into meals so that kids may not recognize them. Blended or shredded veggies in a stew will give them the nutrients they need without the cause for being fussy.
Avoid large portions.
Serving your kids too much food can cause them to overeat. Reduce portions and never make them finish their plates. This can affect how they moderate food intake into adulthood.
Offer satisfying breakfasts.
A good, high-protein breakfast will keep kids satisfied for longer in a day while keeping them alert and in a better mood.
Opt for healthy sides at restaurants.
When you do go out for a meal, choose healthier side options and meals. Kids’ menus aren’t always the healthiest, so you may have to order a simple chicken and vegetable meal for your kids instead.
Get creative about introducing new foods.
Only introduce one new healthy food at a time, and find ways to make it appealing, such as cutting it into shapes.
Once kids become familiar with new healthy foods, they will be more inclined to develop healthy eating habits and eat well at home, at restaurants, and at their Ottawa daycare.