As 2014 comes to a close, we want to remind everyone of some great nutrition and cooking tips for your family’s 2015 resolutions! These tips are simple and specific enough that they can be clearly implemented. Engage your whole family in these ideas, and everyone is more likely to keep with them for the whole year!
Get Your Kids More Involved in the Kitchen.
Getting your kids involved teaches them to develop healthy eating habits, and most importantly, it allows some quality family time to create special memories in the kitchen!
Here are some great activities for each age group in the kitchen:
- stirring ingredients in a bowl
- pour liquids into a bowl
Children (ages 6-8):
- setting the table
Children (ages 9-12):
- measuring out proper amounts
In addition, let your children decide on a meal one day a week. Have them help you pick out a recipe and the ingredients. This way they can feel that they are a part of the process as well!
Introduce New Foods Often:
Although we all have our favorite foods, introducing and embracing new healthy foods is extremely beneficial! Not only will these provide different nutrients for your family, but it will also shake up their eating routine. Keep in mind that kids are more likely to enjoy a food after they have tried it more than five times. So even if that turnip doesn’t sit well with them the first few times, don’t give up! They will learn to enjoy it. We love this goal because it focuses on the positive aspects of making healthy changes, not limiting or restricting certain “bad” foods.
Practice Mindfulness at Mealtime
Here are a few great tips to practice mindfulness at mealtime with your children:
Talk with your children about what hunger and fullness feel like. (A great activity is to draw a picture of their stomach and show them what fullness and hunger may look like physiologically. Therefore, they know what is going on when they feel these feelings.)
Let your child eat as much as they want during meals and snack time. Although it may be difficult as a parent to not control your child’s eating habits, they will soon learn, on their own, to eat until they are satisfied.
Eat with your children and discuss flavors, textures, and aromas of the food.
Educating your children to trust their own instincts will allow them to learn to regulate their own eating and ultimately lead to healthy eating habits and creating positive associations with food.
Avoid Bribing Your Children to Eat Healthy
We know this one is tough. We all want our children to love vegetables and healthy foods. But sometimes, it just isn’t that simple! However, when you bribe your children to eat healthy using incentives such as desserts or extra play-time, kids end up seeing the fruit or vegetable as the “yucky” item they must consume in order to get their reward. Children start to associate eating these healthy foods with external rewards, such as dessert, instead of internal rewards. However, if we took the time to describe to our children how fruits and vegetables are not only necessary, but extremely beneficial, to consume, then we may not need bribery at all! This type of food and nutrition communication is imperative in getting our kids to eat healthier, and love it at the same time!
Take these simple changes into mind when planning what type of year 2015 will be for you and your family.
We’re wishing you a happy and healthy 2015!
Written by: Dana Stretchberry