How to break your kid’s bad food habits?
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Some kids can be picky when eating certain foods. Though bad food habits are usually short-lived, some kids develop longer-term eating issues affecting nutrition. Once there is a greater understanding of the nature of the eating problem, there are many things parents can do to help improve their kids’ eating habits.
Types of eating problems common among kids
Refusing to eat “undesirable” foods like vegetables
Some kids are really sensitive to certain textures. Others don’t like the smell or taste of certain foods. Common offending foods include broccoli, spinach, liver, or fish. Canned foods are often also less desirable than fresh or frozen because canned food texture is often too soft or mushy.
Many children have trouble getting up early enough to get a good breakfast, so they resort to skipping breakfast. But this can lead to bad nutrition, lower concentration, food cravings (for all the wrong foods), and depression.
Binging on junk food
Grabbing that bag of chips or candy can be the first thing kids go for. Mindless eating (often while sitting in front of the TV) can set in, leading to gorging on huge amounts of junk food. When dinner comes, that child will not hungry. Also, junk food can be over-stimulating so that healthy foods are less appealing.
Ways parents can help their child eat better
Parents should display good eating habits
Kids more readily model what they see their parents doing than listening to what their parents say. If they see Mom or Dad eating a whole bag of potato chips after work and before dinner, they will more likely go for the easy junk-food. Conversely, if kids see their parents snacking on vegetables or fruit, they will be more likely to do the same.
Parents should listen to why a child will not eat certain foods
Perhaps there is a really good reason a child doesn’t want to eat a particular food. Maybe the child just isn’t hungry or is reacting to symptoms of food sensitivity. Common symptoms can be a stomach ache, flatulence, heartburn, or headache.
Parents can involve their child in meal preparation
Children love to be involved in choosing what they eat. They can help decide what to eat and help with peeling and cutting veggies, setting the table, and even some cooking. Kids who are involved feel like they have more of a choice and will be more likely to eat the meal they helped prepare.
Eat family meals together (even breakfast!)
Eating meals together has been shown to help with a feeling of belonging and will also provide the structure needed to enforce regular meals and less picky eating.
Parents should not give up
According to health.clevelandclinic.org, it can take up to 20 tries of new food for a child to finally like that food. Being persistent in introducing new foods, while still being positive and understanding, can go a long way.
More help: parents can use sources outside of the family
Using a healthy meal delivery service
The best solution for many parents may be the delivery of fresh and nutritious, clean, and already-cooked kid-friendly meals. They can include their children in choosing what meals to order and choose foods that feature kid-approved flavors and textures. Before long, mealtime will be a snap.
If nutrition is affected, see a nutritionist
Seeing a nutritionist can be an option if other solutions don’t work. Health issues can be ruled out while underlying nutritional problems can be addressed. This is probably the last option but may be necessary in some cases.
Breaking bad eating habits does not need to be stressful. Parents can make mealtime fun by involving their kids in food preparation. They also should pay attention to signs of food intolerance and persist in introducing healthy foods. They may even want to consider using already cooked meals delivered to their door.