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How To Teach Your Children Healthy Eating Habits

They say that when a child is born, they are like a blank slate which you can mould. As parents ourselves, we're not entirely sure about that! As a parent to a nearly three-year-old, I honestly believe that they are born with minds of their own, and they innately know what they like and dislike from the onset. However, that's not to say that as parents we can't have a helping hand in their development and help guide and train their palate to accept lots of different foods!

So, here are some tips and tricks to teach your children healthy eating habits:

  • Start them young (4- 6 months is perfect) and introduce as many new tastes as possible - keeping in mind that you're not offering them processed or heavily salty/sweet foods. Lots of parents worry about the (completely made-up) BLW vs Puree debate, but the key is really variety more than anything else. Think organic, natural, colourful and fun - your little one is just starting their journey, so don't be afraid of this adventure. They might not like something initially, but it takes a child 20 attempts before getting used to the taste of something. Keep trying, soldier, and your little one will eventually get there!

  • Let them take the lead! There's no point trying to control everything (because I know sometimes it can feel like it); give them the spoon and have them go wild. Sure they'll make a mess, but at least they'll be free to explore the food in their own time and on their terms. The helicopter trick doesn't work in this coco-melon and smartphone era! By letting them take the lead, you'll give them the chance to develop most of their senses, touch, smell, taste and let's not forget their fine-motor and coordination skills.

  • It's essential to create an atmosphere which you think would be suitable for your little one! If you want some calm music playing in the background, then go for it! And create a space that is safe and comfortable for mealtime. By that, I mean highchair, suction bowl, non-breakable utensils, a bib that actually catches food - oh, and wipes (a lot of wipes). Make sure that you keep away any distractions, i.e. the TV, and have them sit comfortably close to a table.

  • As your baby grows into a toddler, it's normal for some fussiness to crop up (or get worse. Sorry!) Carry on with offering them options and a variety of healthy foods. For example, try offering them a plate of pasta, homemade garlic bread and some mixed veg finger food. These options will help them get used to different textures when having food - and will also support their decision-making skills. It's so important to teach kids about what they are eating and where it comes from - they don't have to be a particular age for that! You will help them make educated decisions about their healthy eating choices.

  • I'm not saying no to a packet of crisps or some chocolate! Don't deprive the kid! In fact, incorporating 'unhealthy' foods as part of a varied diet is key to establishing a healthy relationship with food and raising a child who doesn't go completely cuckoo at the sight of cake and sweets! Offer these foods regularly but in moderation. So ff your child has already had a few chocolate biscuits that day, offer them a bowl of grapes or oranges for the next snack.

  • Make them associate food and mealtime with fun and exploration. I know that I sound a bit out there, and you think that it sounds like a lot of work for you! But think about the advantages of it all - you'll be able to take your child out without having to worry about their eating habits, all these factors will help them appreciate healthy food so much more.

  • You don't want it to feel like a chore for them or yourself! So, don't force them - they'll take what they need, no child will go hungry unless something is really wrong. Some children find big, heaped plates overwhelming - so don't be afraid to offer just little bits at a time, and they'll ask for more if they want it. Plus, it helps with food waste and table manners for later down the future. Try not to incentivise food; they shouldn't be eating to get to a reward; they should be eating because they are hungry. And on that note, try letting your child have as much indoor or outdoor activity as possible before mealtime to build their appetite.

  • Lastly, eat with your child and model the behaviour you want to see - baby and toddlers learn by imitation.

We at Mamamade have some jam-packed baby and toddler bundles for your little ones to try! They are organic, full of flavour, and, best of all, need no more than 5 minutes of prepping time from the parents. If that sounds like something you'd like to try, head over to our mealtime bundles selection. If you are still unsure, we also have a quiz to help you find the perfect selection of meals for you!

Let us know how it goes; we'd love to hear all about it, so message us on Instagram or our Facebook group.

Happy Healthy Eating! ✌🏼

Himanshi @ Mamamade

 

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