Effective ways to Get Kids off Junk Food
It’s the curse of every parent. Seeing your beloved child stuffing their face with all the wrong sorts of foods and watching the pounds steadily pile on. Eating is all part of a child’s growth and development, but it’s all too easy to develop the wrong way if they consume excessive amounts of junk food. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat – indeed, it’s all part of a balanced diet, but what do you do to prevent your child overeating and how do you encourage them to take on more healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables? How do you set them down the right path towards a healthy and nutritious lifestyle? This essay will provide you with some useful tips.
Since snacking usually takes place in between meals, it will be useful to encourage your child to adopt more healthy snacks. Carrot sticks, for example, are a very basic but very healthy food to eat on the go. Small slices of apple are also a good choice if you want to provide your child with a simple means of sustaining them until the next meal. A packet of nuts is yet another option that you may wish to consider. All these can be readily purchased at any supermarket or large corner shop and they’re both delicious and highly nutritious!
Young children are highly impressionable and if your child has a fictional character, whether in comics, on television or in films, that they look up to and admire, you could try to turn this to your advantage. Point out your child’s hero’s special capabilities and strengths and ask whether they obtained these by eating junk food or by maintaining a healthy diet.
Depending on the age of your child, this will be a much better option than explaining all the technical details of healthy eating such as vitamins and minerals. It is highly likely these will be explained to them at school. If your child has posters of their heroes on their wall, point to them if your child is struggling to adapt to a healthier diet and remind them that the heroes got to where they are now through hard work.
If you are looking to change your own diet, perhaps to lose weight or simply to live a healthier lifestyle, why not half both your workload and that of your child by working to improve your diet together? Your child will look to you as a real example and not a fictional one and if they catch you munching on a forbidden food or slurping a forbidden drink, they will automatically assume it is alright for them to do the same thing.
To avoid this, perhaps you could arrange a special time of day or indeed a special day of the week where you and your child can enjoy a well-earned treat together. Children learn best by observing the behaviour of others, so always be mindful of this when you are setting an example for them.
While you are preparing your child’s healthy meals, encourage them to join you in the kitchen. This will introduce them to how healthy foods look, feel and where applicable smell before they are prepared for consumption. Familiarise them with how to measure out ingredients, toss salads and cracking eggs for example will teach them basic cookery skills and will stand them in good stead for the future. This acquaintance with certain food types should also increase the likelihood of the child eating them. The preparation of food in the kitchen will also teach your child what portion sizes are acceptable and which ones are not. Once the foods are all ready, get your child to put them in their lunchbox themselves. This may also increase the chances of the child eating them and taking pride in what they have created.
If your child likes certain unhealthy foods such as fish and chips, pizza or chicken nuggets, why not have a go at making them yourself? Not only does this mean your child can continue to have occasional treats, it also means that you will be in charge of what goes in the food you give your child.
Making these foods at home keeps the preservatives and additives that supermarket equivalents are usually laden with. It may also be the case that this will work out as a cheaper option for you in the long run. Encourage your child to take part by, as an example, asking them to choose suitable vegetables to put on a ‘rainbow’ pizza.
Just as important to a healthy diet to a child, and to adults, is a healthy sleeping pattern. If your child sleeps poorly, hormones that control and suppress the appetite will not function properly, resulting in strange eating times and increasing the likelihood of snacking. Therefore, ensure that your child sleeps soundly and regularly at night. Idleness is also a common trigger for food cravings so it is also advisable to encourage your child to take up physical activities and spend time outdoors to reduce the risk of such cravings.
These are just some suggestions of ways you can reduce your child’s snacking on junk food. You are more likely to be met with success if the whole family joins in with the healthy living. This alleviates pressure on the child to be the only one to change and sets a challenge that the family can support each other in carrying out. Remember that your child will look to you for support and inspiration, so make sure you don’t get caught out eating unhealthy options and prove to them that changing your diet is possible without cutting out sweet treats entirely and is not a chore or something to dread. Both you and your child will reap the benefits in the long run and you will feel all the better that you have supported each other along the way.
This article along with all articles on this site are for educational and informational purposes only and must not be used or taken as a substitute in any form for any medical, psychological (mental) advice, medication you are currently taking or any alternative treatments without the prior advice, guidance and consent from your medical doctor. Please speak with your doctor first before making any changes to your diet or medicine as a result of reading any information laid out on this website or in this or any other articles.
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