All parents know that making a child eat is not easy. Often what’s healthy is not as tasty as burgers and pizza and we, parents, are forced into making a compromise. But as compromises add up, bad eating habits are formed. Here’s where parents most often make mistakes as far as feeding their children is concerned.
Mistake #1: Fast (Fat) Food
Nobody likes broccoli. Fact. And all too often, mostly unintentionally of course, parents want to keep their kids happy first and healthy second. That’s why the healthy diet is left aside and the fast, or fat foods as I like to call them, reign your child’s daily menu.
Let’s face it, pizza and burgers have clawed their way into your child’s meal rotation all too easily. It’s mostly because ordering in is easier than spending hours in the kitchen, and the kids love it. The only downside – kids get fat. Fast foods are rich in all food groups, but they also increase significantly the daily calorie, fat, and salt intake. Needless to say, that’s not healthy at all. The solution – spend more time cooking and cut back on the pizza. It is a lot messier, but in the long run it’s the right decision for the entire family.
Nowadays you can find many easy and healthy recipes online, and there are plenty of healthy and somewhat delicious ingredients and tricks you can implement. For instance, my daughter wasn’t a fan of salads, but when I started adding nuts and seeds in them (sometimes sunflower, sesame or pumpkin seeds, sometimes crushed walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds), they suddenly became very delicious and she’s always asking for a salad.
Mistake #2: No Fibres
First things first. Fibres are not digested by your organism, but rather play an essential role in keeping the digestive tract working properly. And many kids don’t get nearly enough fibre. What you need to do is include more vegetables in your children’s meals, at least four servings. Grain is also important with the recommended daily grain intake being at least three servings.
Mistake #3: Too Much Salt
Salt must also be present in a healthy diet; however, many children consume more than twice the recommended daily intake. The higher salt consumption may later result in higher blood pressure and more serious conditions, such as kidney problems, heart diseases, asthma, and even heart attack. And the main source of salt is packaged and processed food. So, the solution is simple – cut back on these types of food.
Mistake #4: Milk
Milk is good for kids, but some parents go over the top. Like with anything else, too much of it will have negative health effect on your child. For children aged between two and eight, about half a litre of milk a day is enough. And after the age of two, kids don’t need high-fat milk. Why is too much milk bad? Because it will turn your toddler off solid foods, rich in essential nutrients, like iron. And the lack of iron could potentially lead to anemia.
Mistake #5: Soft Drinks and Juice
Juice and soda are some of the main contributors to child obesity. They are filled with sugar and load your child with a lot of extra calories with no nutritional value whatsoever. So instead of giving juice and soda, go with water.
The transition may be difficult, but it’s necessary. You can try substituting in the beginning. For instance, I started giving my daughter water with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and a few drops of honey. I tried the same with some orange juice and a few other fruits, it worked like a charm.
What do you do to keep your kids away from unhealthy food? Please share in the comments!