Getting your children to stop eating junk
As a parent it is typical to get tangled in search for solutions. Mostly wondering what to do, or how to get through to your children, all in the effort to be a good mother.
Junk food is a common reference to food that has no or less nutritional value, you can also call it leisure food or convinience meals.
Amanda Twebaze, a professional nutritionist says that, poor diets in early childhood can lead to deficiencies in essential vitamins.
‘’When a baby is born,they entirely depend on milk until they are weaned off. The quality of breast milk depends on a mother’s diet but as the baby grows,there are extra nutritional demands placed on the body. It is,therefore it is important that we adjust to the nutritional changes depending on the different life stages,’’ she said in a media interview.
Whereas junk food has no nutritional value, it is loved by people of all age groups especially children, teenagers and youth who are at a risk of succumbing to diseases like obesity, diabetes and other sugar induced conditions.
Here are some creative tips to get your children off junk food
- Tame and train their taste buds
Children’s minds are easier to tame since they don’t know much yet. Introduce different fresh natural foods in different flavors and textures. Let the little ones get familiar with fruits of different colors, introduce vegetables creatively and utilise smoothies to sneak in those nutritional packed veggies.
Make sure this is a step by step process, every once in a while introduce a new fruit or wholegrain. While at it make it fun and interesting.
- Introduce them to the kitchen
Giving them a chance to feel, taste, experience the whole process of putting together a meal will most likely entice them into eating the food. Invite them to cut the tomatoes and onions with guidance,then they will learn about the stinging onion or how an egg is formed.
This process will equip them with skills and knowledge about certain foods and their benefits compared to junk. Allow space for each to serve themselves, so that they learn about portions.
- Eliminate room for junk
It is easy to get junk on the plate especially if you’re a working mom. Junk often comes in handy when one is lazy to walk into the kitchen and make a meal. The solution is not to keep any junk in sight, not even in the fridge. Make all available options healthy foods, from banana smoothies, colorful cocktail beetroot juice to honey coated nuts.
- Lead by example
Children are likely to copy everything an adult does, from habits to food. Take advantage by setting a good example for the rest. Once they see ‘’mama’’ eating colorful veggies happily, they will want to taste too and soon it will become part of them. Eventually, this can become a family tradition to eat healthy together.
- DIY the junk food
Do it yourself at home. Most of these junk foods are made of fat, processed sugars and color. However, you can opt for healthier ingredients while making these meals. For instance, instead of using vegetable oils, opt for olive oil to replace less healthier fats.
Making these meals at home will excite the children, and it is to an advantage because you can minimise the ingredients. Once the little ones understand how hectic it is to put together a “junk meal”, they will be more open to eat what is provided.
- Skip junk rewarding
For many parents giving junk as a reward is the best bribe in history and has proven never to fail. But is it the only way? It is very crucial to disassociate junk food and positive behavior.
An alternative would be buying a favorite fruit or vegetable seed and customise it so that the child plants it with his name on a tag. In the long run don’t build little minds on believing in external rewards, instead utilise the healthy options in the backyard garden if you have one. After all is said and done, every parent experiences this thing differently. Some children are very receptive to diet change others may completely fail to adjust until later. All in all, study your child and understand their needs first, then work accordingly.