If you have children, you know that besides being a parent, you’re also a fulltime chef with the daily task of planning and preparing nutritious and delicious lunchbox snacks that will actually be eaten.
It’s a difficult task but as it turns out, an incredibly important one. Studies show that healthy students are better learners, with higher self-esteem and fewer behavioural problems. Also, what kids eat now affects how they will eat later: researchers found that when it comes to eating and body weight, habits instilled in childhood persist into adulthood, regardless of later social influences.
So, now is the time to instill a love of healthy eating in your kids that will serve them well their whole lives. Here are five ways to do it:
1. Prevent ‘snacksidents’
Those little hands are constantly reaching for a snack. Make it a healthy one by always having raw nuts, biltong and fruit at the ready.
2. Mix it up
Offering kids foods from each of the food groups helps to ensure they get all the nutrients they need and expands their palates. You could take one night a week to prepare a dish from a foreign country, so that they experience different flavours and become more adventurous eaters.
3. Get them involved
Kids are more likely to be interested in healthy eating and try different meals if they helped make it in some way. This could be helping in the kitchen, accompanying you to the grocery store or picking the herbs you’re going to cook with.
4. Eat how you wish them to eat
As well as your way of speaking and choice of laundry detergent, your children will get their eating habits from you, so let them see you eating healthy meals and trying new foods.
5. Feed them the rainbow
Fruits and vegetables offer a wide array of essential nutrients that kids need to grow and learn, so make sure they’re getting a good helping at every meal.
Try a different colour each week and make it fun by having a “rainbow dinner” in which you serve every shade in one meal.
Building healthy eating habits for your kids early on is a great way to set them up for success in the future. (And ensure that they don’t say “eewww, gross” when presented with eggplant at the age of 35).
To further help your kids grow up healthy and strong, give them Releaf Multivitamin kids chews, which contain essential minerals and added Rosehip, (a natural source of vitamin C) that may help boost immune function and maintain good overall health.