How to Model Healthier Diet Choices for Your Kids

mom and daughters with healthy food

Your children watch and learn from your example more than anything else! This includes choices they may turn into habits with eating. If you want your children to develop a naturally “healthy” mindset in regards to the foods they eat, promote that mindset through the “diet” decisions they experience in your home.

Add Vegetables to Dinner

Make vegetables a staple part of every dinner. The options for veggies are endless and the ways they can be prepared even more so! Your children are bound to find vegetables they like more than others—that’s ok! If your child struggles with trying new foods or is adamant against a certain vegetable, take advantage of the ones they love and use those often. According to Liz’s Healthy Table, fostering a positive opinion about vegetables is a great way to instill in them a love of healthy produce from an early age. Show how different preparations of vegetables can make them more exciting and even appealing. This consistent exposure to (and requirement of) vegetables daily can turn into an expectation for your children in their future mealtime decisions.

Avoid Soda

It is easy to intake sugar in solid form, but extremely easy to drink it down by the “Big Gulp”-full! As delicious as you may find it, soda is one of the most harmful drinks to healthy bodies. According to Stellar Kids Dentistry, the sugar in soda can increase pH levels and harm tooth enamel. In addition, frequent intake of large amounts of sugar like that found in soda can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and consequent lethargy. Avoiding soda in your home helps children recognize its potential harms (especially for their teeth if they want to get good news at dentist visits!) It also encourages your children to seek healthier beverages as alternatives, and develop a love of those instead.

Encourage Healthy “Treats”

 Your attitude towards food will reflect theirs! If you talk about certain foods as “treats”, things for special occasions, exciting additions, etc, they will see those foods that way! Fruits are an easily sweet treat that you can “dress up” by freezing them, offering a dip to go with them, freezing them into popsicles or blending them into smoothies. Peanut butter is another favorite that provides the creamy, sweet flavor while also providing lots of protein. Sugary treats are, of course, fine in moderation. Offering other less sugary options (still considered “treats”) will encourage your children to think of those as exciting options as well!

Give your kids the tools to a healthy diet now and in their future through your example of positive experiences with veggies, drinks and tasty treats. Doing so will promote their overall health for their whole lives!

Read this next: How to Help Your Kids Manage Different Sources of Anxiety

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