11: 7 Tips for Raising Healthy Eaters
In this episode, we’re going to dive into the top 7 tips for raising healthy eaters. If you’re a parent, you know how important it is to give your kids the best start in health, nutrition, and lifestyle. We’re going to share some of the things we do as a family to instill healthy eating habits in our kids.
There’s something called “imprinting years.” Imprinting years are the prime years when your child begins to programs beliefs, values, and habits. Meaning, these are the crucial years to help your child build a good relationship with food. These years are 0-7 and possibly (maybe even 14 if we are generous).
One: Start them early! If possible, breastfeed your baby. I’ve breastfed all four of our children but do not judge any mom who decides to take a different journey. When you start introducing whole foods into your baby’s diet, opt for avocados, berries, and sweet potatoes! Avoid processed foods loaded with additives and artificial sugars.
Two: Lead by example! Your child is watching you and absorbing your habits. Be the leader of your family, and embrace what healthy living can look like. Begin to choose healthier options, and then they too will pick healthy options.
Three: Leverage what your child loves! We love to give our kids treats that aren’t processed. For us, we allow our kids to make the decision: If they eat their food, they can have a treat. This allows for self-assurance and eliminates the negative association with desserts.
Four: Learn when to put your foot down! Our first child Isaac was an extremely picky eater. I used to cook two different meals every night for the first couple of years of his life. When we had our second child, we put our foot down and told him that he would eat what everyone else was. At first, it was difficult, but slowly he began to enjoy the same foods and now he is the best healthy eater in our house!
Five: Create the right environment! No TV when we’re eating dinner and no phones at the table (our kids are still too young for phones but this rule applies to Issac and I). It’s important for us to connect as a family over a meal and focus on food while eating. This will help digestion, metabolism and increase bioavailability of the nutrients in the food.
Six: Know when to cut out snacks! Snacks can sabotage your kids’ dinner. Limit the types of snacks and excessive snacking during the day.
Seven: Don’t let it be a power struggle! Don’t threaten your kids to clean their plates. Allow them to listen to their bodies so that they can know when they’re full.