Eating healthy can stabilise child’s energy, sharpen his brain and improve his behavior too. While parents may face a hard time bringing about changes in their child’s life, there are some simple tricks to get things in order, without turning mealtime into a battle. By incorporating healthy eating habits now, you can make a huge difference in your child’s life in the long-run. This in turn will also change his relationship with food, he will grow healthier and become more confident about himself.
What parents need to know is that children have their own preferences for taste, so putting something in front of your preteen that is nutrient filled but lacks in tastes can be futile. So as parents, your first challenge would be to make the choices for him appealing. You can make a proper diet plan to give wholesome nutrition to your child and also allow him to eat what he loves.
Tips to Promote Healthy Eating:
- Have meals together. When a preteen knows that dinner is going to be served at a fixed time, and the entire family would sit and eat together, it comforts him and enhances his appetite.
- Be a good role model. At this age, kids often imitate their parents. So follow a healthy diet yourself and sport a fit body. This will help the child gain inspiration to stay healthy.
- Home cooked meals are always healthy. Change the oil you use to canola or olive. Ensure you cook different vegetables each day and present in an interesting manner to make them appealing to the child. Keep restaurant meals reserved only for special occasions.
- Ask your child to help you out with the groceries shopping. Let him decide what goes into his lunchbox or let him help you prepare meals. You can also teach him nutritional values while reading out labels as you buy the products.
- Teach your kid to eat slowly. This will help them recognise when he is actually full and this will limit the habit of overeating.
- Let your child be exposed to healthy snacks than high calorie ones. Keep fruits, veggies, whole grain snacks, and healthy beverages of water, milk, pure juice available at home over unhealthy snacks, like chips, cookies and sodas.
Healthy Snack Ideas for Preteens
- Prepare homemade fruit smoothies with fat free milk. You can also use yogurt.
- For the snacking time, keep popcorns, whole-wheat crackers, etc. instead of chips. You can also keep peanut butter to spread on the crackers.
- You can toss chopped raisins or any other dry fruit into a bowl full of oats and then put a scoop of cream or milk
- Sprinkle some finely shredded cheese on a corn tortilla. Now microwave it for about 15 seconds and top with salsa
- If your child craves for pasta, prefer whole-wheat pasta.
Dealing with Preetens who are Picky Eaters:
Preteens are often picky eaters. As they are going through developmental change, they tend to exert control over the surrounding and express concern on trusting the unfamiliar things around. In fact, it is quite a daunting task to change their eating habits. A lot of picky eaters like ‘separate compartmented plate’, this means that one food won’t touch the other. You might have to make open presentation numerous times to your preteen, before he accepts any specific food items.
Follow these rather than insisting your child to eat something new:
- Offer something only when he is hungry
- Present one new item at a time
- Serve new foods with their favourite ones so that they get accepted by your child easily
- Try out new food items in front of your child, this may make him eager to taste the same.
- Ask your child to help you prepare various dishes. This increases his interest to try the dish that he has prepared.
- Limit beverages because picky eaters often have more liquids to avoid actually eating something.
- Reduce snacks to two items per day.
Healthy body will make sure that your teen has a healthy mind too. So incorporate these changes in this daily lifestyle and help him stay fit.