Congratulations, dear parents! You crossed yet another year of parenting and you, for sure, deserve a pat on your backs. Parenting is a completely different challenge altogether, especially when it comes to keeping your kids’ tummies full. Some don’t like milk; some run away from vegetables like they’re a contagious disease and some just sulk in front of their plates like somebody is making them sit through science lectures post lunch.
The deal is, children are picky eaters, and if you too happen to have strong likes and dislikes as far as eating habits go, then here’s a head’s up: ‘healthy’ eating has perched right next to impossible. There’s always a solution, though. This new year, you could make a list of resolutions that gently nudge you towards embracing eating habits that are healthier.
You might not realize how important this is. But, consider this for a moment: obesity is a reality we are dealing with right now. This stems a lot from unhealthy eating choices. Did you know that in the past 30, the number of obese children has doubled? In fact, by 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents had obesity. The effects are scary. Studies have shown that 70% of obese youth were at risk of a cardiovascular disease.
Now that we have established the need to have a healthy eating routine let’s understand what will help us get there. Making new year resolutions to eat healthy is a great step. Here are some resolutions you could think of.
1. Pick out the least favorites and glorify them
Every house has a least favorite food. Ok, wait, more than one, to be honest. When I was a kid, my mother would ask me which dish I hated, and she’d go on to glorify it so much, that I’d end up tasting it. Most of the times, I’d like it, and my mom’s mission would be successful. Fruits, veggies or meat, tell your children, or yourself how beautiful it is and look at healthy eating fly back into your house!
2. Educate about the plate
There’s no point chomping the stuff that’s laid out on the plates. If you want to make eating fun, educational, and healthy at the same time, try breaking down the dish into nutritional value, scientific information and all of that. Once you and your children know the benefits of what you’re eating, it makes healthy eating a fun affair, and not a boring one.
3. Involve your children in cooking
When your little elves see how much effort and love goes into the preparation of a dish, they’ll appreciate the food, even if it’s not as appealing as the fries and burgers. Letting them help you with cooking will not just create a beautiful bonding time, but will also help them take to healthy eating habits better.
4. Try using local/organic produce
What’s better than half dead and sad looking veggies from the supermarket? Fresh local produce. Be it veggies, or meat, added preservatives are never a wise choice. It’s slightly more time consuming, but worth all the effort. Fresh and organic ingredients elevate the taste and health quotient of any dish, so this new year, you could give a big thumbs up to this habit.
5. Replace junk with healthier options
Your kids like chips? Go for crispy baked sweet potatoes. Don’t they like fruits? Blend them into oh-so-inviting smoothies. Replace aerated drinks with fresh fruit juices, include salads with interesting dressings as evening snacks and so on. Healthy eating isn’t about starving, you see.
6. Take a trip to the farm
It’s a lot of great things rolled into one. First, this is a perfect getaway during the weekends. Two, your children will see how beautiful food is, be it fruits or vegetables. Third, they get a chance to try a hand a plating a seed and in subsequent visits; they see it grow. This enriching experience is enough for them to fall in love with their plates. If a farm visit is difficult, you could try gardening at home.
7. Eat a rainbow
No, this doesn’t mean you pluck one of the skies. It simply means including seven different coloured food during the seven days of the week. Each color has a nutritional benefit to it, eating different colors will ensure that there is a balance and you will be on track as far as your healthy eating goals are concerned.
8. Blind tasting sessions
This is just like going on a blind date, except for that fact that you and your children will be dating food. Pick out foods that feature on the ‘no way’ list, blindfold members of your family, and make them taste it. Chances are because they don’t know what’s the dish, they’ll end up liking it. That’s how you own the healthy eating habit resolution.
9. Hop, skip and jump
Physical activities are essential. Couch potatoes munch on food not because they’re hungry. Hunger stems from physical activities, so, encourage your entire family to be active. Play, run and ditch the couch for sometime and look at how hungry you feel. And when you’re hungry, healthy food will be gobbled down in seconds.
10. Follow a schedule
Eat in time. This might sound like your grandmother, but eating at regular intervals and on time is important. Binge eating is the unhealthiest form of eating. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks should have a designated time, and make sure your entire family sticks to it. Also, never skip meals. Ever!
11. Wash your hands
Eating healthy is great, but when you touch those fries with germ-infested hands, all your healthy eating goes down the drain. People fall sick despite eating healthy, and dirty hands have been found to be the biggest cause. So, before you eat something, ensure that your hands are clean!
With so many resolutions, your health and eating habits will catapult to a new high. This new year, say hello to good health and smart eating choices. All the best!