How can you possibly teach your child the value of good nutrition? She is constantly being tempted by less nutritious food items in television commercials and packaging gimmicks to try the newest candy or cookie. In the face of these temptations, teaching your child about good nutrition may undoubtedly be a struggle. It is important to remember, however, that this is a struggle that can be won, and the rewards will benefit your child the rest of her life. Here are some tips for turning your child into a nutrition-savvy tot:
Make Your Home a Haven of Healthy Foods
While you can’t control everything that your child may eat when she is with others, you can control what she eats when she is at home. When grocery shopping, limit the number of foods that are sugar-filled and loaded with fat. Stock your pantry instead with a variety of foods from all of the food groups.
Inform Caregivers of Your Child’s Nutritional Requirements
If other people will be caring for your child, let them know what foods are acceptable for her to eat. This isn’t to say that she shouldn’t be allowed to have a cupcake at a special friend’s birthday party, but it should be made clear that these types of food should be the exception, not the norm.
Make Healthy Eating Appealing to Your Child
Keep snacks on hand that are both delicious and nutritious, such as raw vegetables and sliced fruit. If your child grows accustomed to regarding these types of food as tasty snacks, she may be less inclined to request sugary candy and cookies at snack time.
Be a Good Role Model for Your Child
Children learn by example. Let your child see you choosing from a variety of healthy foods for your mealtime choices. Let her know that good nutrition is important for the entire family, not just her.
It is unrealistic to expect your child to never eat sweets or other unhealthy snacks. It would be better to allow her to sample these foods on occasion than to ban them entirely. Doing this may help curb her curiosity about these foods without undermining the values of good nutrition you have instilled in her.