When you have a child, its every little milestone brings you happiness and joy. Whether it’s the first time they hold your finger or the first few steps, each development makes your heart jump with joy. But, with every new move, parents are also constantly worried about their health and well-being. Parenting is often challenging and involves a lot of effort and responsibility, especially for new parents as the formative years of children are of utmost importance in shaping their lives.
One of the biggest concerns of parents is to feed nutritious and healthy food to their kids which helps them to grow. However, children often become irritable and crave junk food high in unhealthy fats and added sugars. They also increase the chances of children developing obesity in childhood which leads to multiple risk factors for many health complications in later life.
Dr. Pallavi Rao Chaturvedi, parenting coach, educator and founder of Get Set Parent shares some ideas for raising your kids in a junk food-free environment:
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Children often imitate their parents and respect them for everything. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that you are setting a good example by choosing nutritious, home-cooked meals instead of fast food. Show them that healthy food can be delicious and make a difference.
interact and educate
Teach your kids about the importance of a balanced diet and the negative effects of consuming excessive fast food. Help them understand the nutritional value of whole foods and the consequences of consuming too many processed foods.
Involve them in meal planning and preparation
Actively involve your kids in meal planning and preparation, ask for their suggestions and try to implement them. Let them pick up fruits and vegetables from the grocery store and help out in the kitchen. This will give them a sense of ownership and make them more likely to enjoy healthy food.
Limit fast food as a meal
Instead of saying no to fast food altogether, consider it an occasional meal rather than a regular meal option. Set clear rules about how often it can be consumed, such as once a week or on special occasions.
make healthy snacks accessible
Keep a variety of healthy snacks readily available for your child to choose from. Keep options like fresh fruit, cut vegetables, whole grain crackers and yogurt in the pantry. Limit the availability of processed snacks and sugary treats.
choose healthier options
When eating out, choose restaurants that offer healthier options or a wider range of options. Look for places that have salads, grilled options, and fresh ingredients. Encourage your kids to make healthier choices by explaining the benefits of those choices.
Remember that a change in eating habits cannot happen overnight. Be patient, consistent and supportive as you work towards improving your child’s eating habits and patterns for a better and healthier tomorrow.