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As a parent you hope to pass on good lessons to your children. Lessons such as the value of patience, kindness, generosity, and how to be a valuable member of society. These kinds of traits can often get lost in the day to day of taking your kids to school, making sure they eat their food, and don’t fight with their siblings. The reality is it is in the everyday activities that lessons can be learnt. For example, meal times are a time where lessons in sharing, and manners, or even general conversation can be learnt and enjoyed. Mealtimes are also an excellent opportunity to show your children the importance of eating well and teaching your kids about healthy living.
Mealtimes with fussy eaters is a nightmare. When your child’s ‘safe foods’ are limited, it is hard to encourage them to eat new foods, let alone get them into eating a wide and varied diet. The good news is, that a lot of fussy eaters grow out of this stage within a few years. Additionally, there are ways to encourage fussy eaters to eat new foods and make mealtimes a much more enjoyable experience.
Cooking with your children
Involving your children in the cooking process is one way you can encourage them to eat. The fact that they are involved and can see how their food is made will allow them to feel more comfortable around food, and feel some pride when eating the food they have helped prepare.
Don’t be afraid to get messy, as the more children touch and play with food, the more they learn about it. Children will naturally ask questions about where the food they are eating comes from, and you can use cooking as a way to educate your children about why some foods help our bodies, while others should be consumed in small amounts.
Of course, you will want to have treats every so often, and your children will certainly appreciate the occasional relaxed afternoon with some treats. If you still want to go down the healthier route, make homemade treats that have less sugar and more healthy ingredients that you find in standard supermarket candies and snacks. Instead of sugar rich store soda, learn how to make your own italian soda which uses homemade natural fruit syrups and can even include dairy-free alternatives to milk if that is something you are your family have eliminated from your diet.
Growing your own herbs and vegetables
Children love spending time in nature. Get them in the garden, and plant some herbs and vegetables and encourage your children to look after them and watch them grow. If you don’t have a garden or green space, you can use hanging baskets for herbs, and even grow certain vegetables indoors!
Be the example
If you do not eat well or exercise, then your children will not have a reason to do so. Children follow examples, so consider having one day a week that you go on a family fitness run somewhere, go to the local park together, or share an exercise activity the whole family can enjoy. We enjoy rock climbing and have a family monthly pass. It’s much cheaper than lots of other exercising options and a great way to spend time together. Whatever you family’s favorite physical activity be sure to try to do this at least twice a week so when your children are adults it will be more likely they will keep up with healthy habits.
Growing healthy habits at a young age, should help your children continue them in adulthood. You have the chance to help them shape their lives for the better by teaching your kids about healthy living today!