I think often about how the eating habits we establish in our house will impact my sons into adulthood. Of course, children need the nutrition from a healthy diet, but they also need those good patterns developed early on. I hate the thought of them living only on microwave meals or fast food as adults! I want to do everything I can to help them create good habits now so they can carry those into adulthood. Trust me, I know how easy it is to skip the healthy meal prep and choose junk food. I’d love for my sons to go straight to the healthy stuff when they start to prepare their own food!
Start as soon as possible
One thing I loved doing when my boys were younger was making baby food out of the fresh fruits and veggies I found at the farmer’s market. Exposing them to a wide variety of colors, smells, and tastes at an early age has helped them to be more open to those same foods in solid form as an older child. I can also tell them “You’ve actually tried this before, it just looked a little different!”
Model the behavior
I really believe setting a positive example goes a long way. Communicate when you try a new food: “Hmm, it’s been a long time since I’ve tried artichokes! I’m not really sure I’ll like it, but I’m going to try it anyways. It’s not my favorite, but dipping in soy sauce makes it taste better!” This helps your children see that it’s totally normal to feel apprehension about something new and it’s okay not to love something the first time you try it! Giving them the tools they’ll need to navigate those tricky eating situations goes a long way.
Let them eat cake!
This might seem like it’s going against everything else I just said, but letting your kiddos have treats in moderation is important, too! They should see that food is fun, it tastes good, and is certainly a fun part of any celebration. You also don’t want sugary snacks to be so foreign to them that they totally binge when they’re outside of the home!
With just a little extra planning and effort you can establish healthy habits now that will benefit your whole family in the long run. Here’s to a lifetime of enjoying nutritious food together!
Post by Nancy Yen of Omie Life.
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