Bad habits we show in adulthood are primarily developed in childhood, adults who refuse to eat vegetables were often forced to do so as children. Most of us brought up in Asian households were told we couldn’t leave the table unless we finished everything on our plates, and we get comforted by food when we were depressed of injured.
As parents, we are responsible for everything that our children eat, and we know it is bad to let your child be obese, so how can we instill in our children the habit of healthy eating? As working parents, the easier option of convenience foods and fast food can be a very tempting alternative to cooking healthy meals, but there are many meal preparation videos online to help you with the planning, healthy home cooked meals can also be fast and cost half the price of ready made food.
We can break the tradition and avoid triggers of obesity in childhood by being more aware of our own attitude to food. It is okay to leave food on your plate if you’re full, or just not feeling too hungry. Comfort can be given with kind words, a hug, and spending some time to listen to their little worries and concerns. Children prefer attention over food!
Parents should never force feed your child, encourage them with the truth that they do need vegetables to grow strong and healthy like carrots are good for eyesight and spinach promotes muscle growth. Force feeding your child could put them off the food for life and may lead to unhealthy relationships with food in adulthood.
One of the best ways to get your child to eat healthily is to involve them in the preparation process. This helps encourage them to eat fruits and vegetables, have a fruits party sometimes, allow the children to choose which fruits they would like to include in the party and let them help chop up the fruits.
Just like us adults, children aren’t going to like every type of fruits and vegetables. We all have preferences when it comes to meat, fish, pasta, and potatoes, and once they get some variety of each of the food groups, they will do fine.
Give your children choices, but don’t confuse them with too many options either. Ask your child specific choice questions like “would you like carrots or peas with your chicken?” as oppose to asking “what vegetable would you like?”
There are some children who eat healthily are overweight, this is because the adult over feeds them, even healthy foods will cause weight gain if the child is over-eating. A child size portion should be enough, and if your child declares to be hungry after clearing their plate, offer them more vegetables or fruits!
Never tell a child they are overweight, and never put them on a diet. Weighing them just to keep a record is alright, but do not start dieting them when you find their weight out. If anyone else remarks on your child’s weight, shut the conversation down and when the child is out of earshot, tell the adult that it is inappropriate to speak about weight in front of a child! But if you do have serious concerns about your child’s weight, speak with your General Practitioner or pediatrician.
As parents, you need to be your child’s biggest supporter and greatest defender! Let’s put a stop to the growing trend of childhood obesity together!!