Here’s the trouble with good parenting – if you want to be a good parent and help your child learn good habits, you’ll have to shape up and be the change you want to see in your child too. Whether or not you believe in how children mainly learn from the example you set for them to follow, you do have to see that children these days are completely skilled at pointing out how you’re doing what you’re asking them not to do (where do they learn to talk like that these days). And it applies to bringing healthy eating habits for children into the family as well.
Surprisingly enough, when you tell some parents that merely having junk food in the house is a bad example in itself, it’s like they are seeing this for the first time. Just think about it – if there is chocolate pudding and Jell-O in the fridge and you have a picky eater in a child, wouldn’t it be much more difficult to get him to eat regular food? There is something silly in the fridge for the child to think longingly about. So if you’re trying to promote healthy eating habits for children in your home, this is what you need to do.
Make sure that you don’t give your children money for food in school. Of course, you can’t send your child out empty-handed. But at least make sure that you tell them that it’s not meant for treats outside. Children don’t really feel good about going against the rules. Just the fact that you say that it is wrong is enough more or less.
Well, let’s say that you do want to bring junk food into the home because, you know, you weren’t raised to be a monk. Well, it doesn’t have to be a total ban. Instead, buy the smallest 100-calorie packages possible. As for soda, make sure there’s never any in the house. We don’t need to eat junk food several times a day – so the temptation isn’t very strong. On the other hand, we do need a drink several times a day. And if there’s soda and juice boxes and other unsavory stuff in the fridge, it can be hard to resist.
If you have a picky eater in the family, there will still be something regular and nutritious that he doesn’t mind eating that much. You need to have that on the ready at all times. If the regular meal you’re cooking doesn’t cut it with him, he can always fall back on that.
Promoting healthy eating habits for children in your home comes down to providing alternatives when you ban those unhealthy foods. So there should always be fruit in the house that your child can turn to. But you don’t want to go overboard with the junk food ban either. Try to make it a very limited thing to turn to because it’s bad.
Parents often make a big deal about how smoking and drugs are bad. But when it comes to junk food, it’s always, “Don’t eat that – it isn’t good for you”. Children can see right away that you use different words with different intennt for junk food. Parents need to change that. Junk food is completely dangerous and needs to be warned against like alcohol and tobacco.