Teaching kids healthy habits is challenging, especially in this day and age. These days, we usually sacrifice nutrition for taste and convenience, but teaching kids how to eat the right way to eat is a habit that’s sure to help them down the road. Here are some helpful tips to remember when you’re teaching your children the nutritious way to eat.
Avoid processed foods
Tocino, longganisa, bacon, and luncheon meat—oh my! These are delicious, easy to cook, and even easier to eat, but these store-bought meats have tons of preservatives and chemicals in them when purchased off the shelves of grocery stores. It’s best to avoid processed foods—meat especially—when you’re trying to teach your kids about healthy eating.
When you see your kids reaching for processed food, see if you can offer healthier alternatives. Go for home-made and chemical-free! Beef tapa can be prepared using only vinegar, salt, and lots of fresh garlic as marinade. Not only is this safer and healthier; the flavor can be adjusted to suit your family’s taste!
Green is good
What do broccoli, peas, kangkong, lettuce, cabbage, and ampalaya have in common? Aside from their green color, they’re jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients that are sure to help growing kids develop a healthy body. Before you shop, make a list of the greens you want to buy and acquaint yourself with their benefits to the body, so that when you go grocery shopping, you can inform your kids of such happy benefits.
Nowadays, there are many ways to prepare and cook veggies in delicious ways that are appealing to kids. When they have a good memory of these delicious dishes, pairing them up with their health benefits will motivate your kids to make sure they’re in your cart.
The leaner, the better
When picking out meat to cook, help them choose lean. The leaner the meat, the better for your body. Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and some cuts of beef have considerably less amounts of fat versus pork. Leaner meats mean more protein and energy.
Fruits and nuts are good for an energy boost
If there’s a healthy eating habit you have to teach your kids to do well in, it’s in the snacking department. You can eat like a champ for most of your meals, but if you snack on unhealthy food, all that eating right is for nothing.
What you offer at home matters. When the afternoon merienda madness hits, instead of reaching for chips or chocolate, make healthy alternatives like fruit readily available to your kids. Offer sliced apples or oranges before the hunger pangs bite! We also have various local merienda preparations for bananas that your kids will enjoy and get filled by. And when they seek a savory alternative, have nuts readily available before they even find their way to chips.
Fruits like pineapple, bananas, apples, and grapes are easy to prepare, fuss-free fruits that your kid can snack on at school. Pack in an extra serving of unsalted, roasted nuts to add some protein to their merienda!
Lead by example
If eating nutritious foods is a challenge at home, what more when you’re at the mall or at a restaurant? When you’re dining out with family or friends, always teach by example and make sure you pick the better option on the menu. Instead of picking the richer options with the higher calorie count, look for better alternatives on the menu. For example, instead of indulging in some fried pork belly with garlic rice, maybe you can try steamed fish or some daing na bangus belly (or sinigang or paksiw!) with brown rice instead.
It’s okay to indulge (once in a while)
Eating nutritious food doesn’t mean you should always deprive yourself of tasty (although unhealthy) favorites. It’s okay to indulge when there’s a gathering, special celebration, or when you’re feeling down in the dumps, but you should teach your kids to limit themselves to just those occasions.
At the end of the day, teaching your kids how to eat nutritious food is just as important as teaching them good values. It teaches our kids the values of informed and wise decision-making, self-control and discipline, endurance, and the healthful living.
And by the way, eating healthy, nutritious food doesn’t mean that they should always be bland. Spice it up so they’ll look forward to every meal!
Andreiana Yuvallos is an Editorial Assistant at Familywise Asia. She loves reading, writing, theatre, and baking on the weekends.