Teaching kids to eat healthier foods is more than just informing them about what to eat. When interact with foods, kids begin to develop lifelong food associations that will affect their eating habits.
You may have known about positive and negative food association. However, depending on the experience kids have with foods, they can develop a positive or negative feeling about the food.
If the kids get in trouble for not taking vegetables, they may develop a mindset that associates “vegetables” with “get in trouble” experience. The consequence, the kids may avoid vegetables for diet subconsciously. It is because kids are remembering unpleasant memories with the foods.
To develop positive associations with healthy foods, there are several guidelines to help your kids form nice experience with healthy food:
- Make realistic expectations. Do not to get frustrated or upset if your kids do not want to eat heal thy foods. It will only make the eating time inconvenient for you and your kids. It also won’t help them develop the kids’ eating habits. Forcing them also won’t really help. You don’t want to win “the fight”, but you want to win “the war”. So, patience and persistence are the keys to achieve what you want.
- Keep the kids involved and try to find various ways for them to experience repeated exposure to fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods.
- Numerous studies state that it takes 15 times of seeing a certain fruit or vegetable before kids will try it.
- Become a nice role model and show your kids how much you enjoy eating healthy foods.
- Don’t use any foods as a reward for kids.
- Hide fatty and sugary foods to avoid competition with the healthier foods.
- Share some ideas and recipes about with other parents.
Teaching kids to form healthy habits and consume healthier foods is very important to their health. It is definitely worth the effort.