This post was sponsored by Nestlé.
3 kids later, I think I finally have this all figured out.
The reality is there’s no hack to this.
Each child is different and as a parent, all you can do is your best to make sure that you are teaching them healthy habits and setting the example needed for them at home.
My daughter, Kitana was an extremely fussy eater. I remember buying Nespray on many occasions to make sure she was still getting the essential nutrients she needed to meet daily requirements, but over time things got better. She realised that she was missing out on some delicious dishes because she judged a fruit or vegetable by just looking at it.
Instilling healthy habits can help the entire family avoid lifestyle problems later such as obesity, diabetes, etc.
Did you know that around 13% of children under 9 are overweight or obese and more than 50% of adults are overweight or obese in South Africa? Childhood obesity is becoming a global health concern and even in South Africa, it is escalating very fast. These stats scare me so much as a parent, but let’s find ways to help each other.
Here are 4 ways you can teach kids healthy habits:
- Portion Sizes
Once upon a time, I used to force my kids to eat more than what their tummies could handle because I felt like they needed to eat everything I dished out on the plate, not realising that I may have been dishing out incorrectly.
A good guideline is that portion sizes for kids from about 4 to 8 years of age should be about a third of an adult portion size. You also want to make sure that it is a balanced meal. For example, if you are making noodles for supper, make a stir fry instead so it has starch, protein, and vegetable.
Tip: Buy cute cutlery and plates for your kids. I absolutely love the interactive kid dinner plates I came across recently which allow our little ones to play pretend as they eat.
- Food Groups
Trying to introduce my kids to the different food groups has always been a tough one. They only knew one which was Candy!
On a serious note, ever wondered why kids are more drawn to candy?
“Scientific evidence shows that children not only have a stronger preference for sugar than adults – but that sweet tooth is hardwired from Day One.” Read more here.
- Planting your own fruit and vegetable can be a good start in educating them from young.
- Get your kids involved in the kitchen. Let them help you prepare meals so they can see the fruit and veggies you are using while also learning the importance of it.
- Create a game or a challenge (perhaps video it too)– Visit the store and purchase a few different fruits or veggies then you and your kids try them both raw and cooked and rate it on a scale of 1-5.
The Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK) website has a cool explorer game that allows you to reward your child once they’ve tried a certain number of fruits or veggies. Download it here.
3 years ago, I gave up one of my favourite drinks – it wasn’t exactly easy, but I managed to push through and substitute it with a healthier alternative.
I then made the decision to limit the type of drinks that were bought in my house which also encouraged the family to drink more water, especially during dinner time.
Make drinking water regularly more fun for your kids with this guessing game and remember it is important to set some ground rules at home when it comes to junk food.
There are so many ways to encourage more physical play at home.
The most important thing to do is play with your children – even if it’s for 15 mins.
- Have a dance party. My kids love Just Dance so we spend time dancing together which also gives us a proper workout.
- Play games like hide and seek or hopscotch.
- Ride bikes together in the neighbourhood.
- Buy active toys – like a trampoline or even a soccer ball.
This nutrition week, I’ve partnered up with N4HK to promote healthy family habits. It’s simple as making small adjustments that can add a whole lot of more goodness and nutrition to a meal for your little one.
Don’t be afraid to experiment because the truth is that is the only way you will get it right.