Raising happy and healthy children is every parent’s goal, thus giving them proper care and nutrition is necessary. Juana Manahan Yupangco, founder of Mesa ni Misis, which helps educate parents about proper eating habits by creating healthy menus and budget-friendly recipes, shares the following tips .
Give your kids healthy taste buds.
Having healthy taste buds should start at home. Introduce them to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, and be a good role model for them. According to several studies, children who eat a nutritious breakfast with protein, Omega-3 fats, calcium, iron, and fiber do better at school than those who skip it.
Take your kids to a farm.
To fully introduce healthy foods to your children, you may want to show them where these come from. Kids can be really curious about what they eat. Taking them to a farm can help them be knowledgeable with plants and encourage them to be involved in the process of preparing the food. They can plan and can give their suggestions on what to eat. (Here's a list of farms you can visit in Metro Manila and nearby provinces)
Let them pick a new fruit or vegetable to taste.
Allow your child to help in shopping and choosing the menu. Letting them have the food they want to eat will get them excited for it.
Cook with your kids (even if you can’t).
Involve your child in the cooking process. Allow them to roam around the kitchen. Let them plan and make suggestions for the menu. Give them simple jobs such as peeling vegetables; just make sure to guide them.
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Remove the gadgets from the table.
Parents play a vital role in limiting screen time especially during meal time. You should be the one to do it first and be a good role model. Meal time should be a time for your family to share stories and simply bond with each other.
Teach your kids to feed themselves at a young age.
Encourage your kids to be independent by letting them do simple things by themselves. This will help them to develop motor skills and build their individuality.
Eat at the table.
Kids love to play even during meal time, but teach them the proper table etiquette and make them realize that they should be thankful and respect the food.
Do not allow them to roam and play around the room while you are feeding them.
Say no to junk foods.
Eating junk food can decrease their interest in eating proper meal. Moreover, kids need to discover new flavors that are healthy. As Manahan says, “Kids won’t know what it is unless you let them taste it.”
Teach your kids compassion.
Acknowledging the blessings they are continually receiving is one thing, sharing it with other people is another.
Teach your kids to be stewards of the planet.
As your child learns to eat healthily, this habit extends to the environment. This can be taught at home. You may start by using reusable bags and beverage containers, saving electricity and water. These tricks will eventually lead to them being conscious of plastic waste, pollution and carbon footprints.