My child prefers junk food – what should I do?
Photo by Caleb Oquendo
It might be sad, but it’s also true – Junk food tastes better than healthy food. It’s designed to be irresistible, and junk food producers are very good at what they do. And while the occasional junk food treats are lovely, junk food should be kept to a minimum, especially for children.
You need to take control of your child’s health – Remember that it’s never too late to make a fresh (food) start! Let’s take a closer look at why your child prefers junk food and how your children can eat healthier with your busy schedule.
What makes your child want to eat snacks and junk food only?
Despite the many reasons why children become accustomed to junk food early on, there are still underlying reasons behind its addictive nature.
The first disadvantage of junk food is that it tastes good and is usually carb-based, making it easier for kids to eat. In children, there is a physical wiring that makes them crave carbs and eat them as often as possible. As a biological matter, sweet foods are a primal need for animals since they provide them with energy and have been around for a long time.
In addition, many junk foods have a crunch to them, which is one factor that makes them appealing to picky eaters. It is often the case that kids like to eat crunchier foods rather than soft foods such as baked potatoes because they can see exactly where the chips are. Many people lose track of the mushy potato in their mouths as they chew or experience strange sensations.
As a child grows older, when they refuse to eat anything other than junk food, the problem can spiral even worse as they are never exposed to healthier food options as they get older.
The bottom line is that children need to be protected from the harms of junk food – And encouraged to explore healthier options. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to do this.
Take your child to the grocery store to promote healthy eating
Healthy eating habits can be taught to your child at the supermarket. For example, learn how fruits and vegetables look before cooking by taking your child to the supermarket.
Make sure you allow your child to choose a vegetable or fruit that they find attractive, such as sweet potatoes, and allow them to participate in the meal’s preparation.
If your child is old enough, they can help you wash the fruits and vegetables. The more autonomy you give your child, the more likely he is to take a bite of the meal that he has contributed to the preparation.
Change the snack dynamic
The little one might have a lower appetite when mealtime comes around if he snacked on dried fruit throughout the day. Keeping a schedule of meals and snacks will help you stay on track.
Consider whole-grain crackers or fruit slices. Consequently, they will have a greater appetite for vitamin and mineral-rich, nutritious meals.
Take part in the preparation of a healthy meal and dessert together
Allow them to help with rinsing the vegetables or chopping up some foods if they are old enough. You can also make it fun by using gadgets like cookie cutters.
Make fun shapes and turn meal prep time into something the children look forward to. A quick online search for “How to use cookie cutters” will give you unlimited ideas.
You can remind them frequently throughout the day if they refuse to assist you. Make it fun by playing some music. You may overlook the benefits of healthy foods at first, but over time they will benefit from them in several ways.
Reduce the availability of junk food
When your child is attempting to eat healthier foods, you should reduce how much junk food you buy. When junk food is not in the house, it cannot be eaten.
If your child has a problem with eating anything else but junk food, you’ll have to be very careful as you’ll have to ensure they eat something in addition to junk food. At every meal, you must serve at least one food you expect them to consume.
You can maintain a healthy lifestyle even with a busy schedule if you plan and work proactively.
Lead by example
Your child needs more than just a simple explanation. By eating them yourself, educate your child about healthy foods like fruit and vegetables or fish. You can encourage your child to eat the same foods you do by enjoying your greens or smiling after you eat steamed fish.
Again, the earlier you do this, the better, but there is always time to correct some bad habits. We’re all busy, and as a parent, you’re doing your best with what you have. But remember that eating healthy can take less time and can be easy.