10 ways to teach your kids healthy eating habits
How can you teach your kids healthy eating habits? Here are 10 practical tips to become healthy, wholesome role models for your children.
Show, don’t tell
Children learn by copying their parents’ behaviour, so the first step is to lead by example. Choose a glass of water over a soft drink or fruit juice, or crunch into a delicious apple instead of a packet of chips. Your kids will follow your example and create healthy habits of their own.
Shop together for healthy food
Turn grocery shopping into a fun-filled family outing! Expose your kids to the variety of healthy food on offer at supermarkets. Teach them about colours, nutrition and where food comes from and make shopping a fun family affair. Give them a healthy snack to munch on to keep them occupied such as a tub of cherry tomatoes, a punnet of berries or an apple.
Cook creative dishes as a family
Teach your kids that cooking is fun. Turn your kitchen into a magician’s workshop, creating exciting new dishes that they will love and help them grow. For ideas, check out these fabulous recipes or learn how to make healthy, tasty and easy meals as a family at the HealthyFood Studio
Stock up on healthy snacks
Kids get hungry often, so make sure you have healthy snacks around the house. Fresh fruit, vegetable sticks with guacamole, cream cheese or hummus as dips, nuts and homemade popcorn make great snacks. Make a game of it – get your kids to create their own snacks using healthy ingredients.
Let your kids decide what they like
Treat your child like a blank slate; expose them to different food all the time and then ask them, what do you think? What does it taste like? Expand their food vocabulary beyond likes and dislikes to use all five senses, and let them make up their own minds.
Love your fruit and vegetables
The 2016 Healthy Active Kids Report Card reports that most children eat less than one portion of fruit or vegetables a day – well below the recommend five portions. Make fruit and vegetables a part of your daily life and show your kids how much you enjoy it.
Limit sugary and salty foods
The report also shows that South African teens drink more than one soft drink a day and consume three times the recommended amount of sugar a week. Consuming too much sugar and salt can cause a host of chronic diseases. Train your family to taste their food first before reaching for the salt shaker and show them how delicious food can be without added sugar or salt.
Make fast food a fun game
Let’s be honest, sometimes we’re going to be too tired to cook. Show your child that there are healthy fast food options out there, for example the Vitality meal at Nando’s. Turn it into a scavenger hunt with a prize for the family member that can find the healthiest takeout menu.
Make food family time time
Turn off all the screens and talk to each other about your day. In our fast-paced world it’s important to teach our children to slow down and unwind after a stimulating day – and there’s nothing quite as meditative as cooking and eating a meal together.
Remove the word “diet” from your vocabulary
How many times do your kids hear you say “I can’t eat that; I’m on a diet”? Children shouldn’t associate food with reward and punishment, or the idea that healthy eating is linked to deprivation. Self care and self loves comes from within; your child’s inner voice will one day mirror your own.
When you follow these 10 steps to encourage good eating habits in your kids, not only will your family reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle but Vitality will reward you too. Embark on your journey to healthy eating one step at a time. Start by activating your HealthyFood benefit and get up to 25% cash back on healthy food items at Pick n Pay or Woolworths. Shop for HealthyFood, earn 500 HealthyFood points before 31 December and you will be entered into the draw to win a five-star family experience in Disneyland Paris. Vitality families who make healthy food choices also stand to win one of five Mickey’s 90th Anniversary hampers.
Be a healthy, happy family with Vitality.
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Feed your family good health with Vitality HealthyFood
Discovery Vitality's HealthyFood benefit, created by a team of nutrition and health experts, aims to promote good health and lower the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Vitality members can earn up to 25% cash back at Pick n Pay or Woolworths for their healthy food purchases.
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