We all know the rules – avoid junk food, eat healthy, say no to fizzy drinks and finish your veggies. But do kids really listen? Who says eating right needs to be followed by the book! Parents stress and worry about their children’s ‘bad’ eating habits day and night, just to find their child pigging out on that packet of chips you thought you managed to hide. Instead of setting rules for what he/she can or cannot eat (and we all know how much children LOVE rules) why not provide them with options (you could even trick them into believing its totally unhealthy) they’ll gobble up happily.
SAY YES TO JUNK FOOD:
There is no parent who could eat healthy all the time, so how can you expect your kids to do the same? If they want chocolate, melt some rich chocolate in milk and serve it to them as hot chocolate. When your child demands choco chip cookies, try making them at home with healthier alternatives like atta instead of maida and olive oil instead of butter. And sometimes just give your kids a break, when they ask for a packet of chips or some silly over priced chocolate, just let them have it!
SAUCE IT UP:
Stop trying to force feed icky green dry vegetables to your child! I’m sure you also couldn’t have eaten something that bland, happily as a kid. It’s unfair to ask your child to eat boiled broccoli and boring raw salads just to maintain that healthy ‘balanced’ diet. Instead you could make all these vegetables yummy by adding different sauces and dressings to them. Load up any salad with some mayo dressing or thousand island or whatever you think your child might enjoy. If they’re happy eating such yummy salads you probably won’t worry about the calories in the sauces! Serve beans, broccoli, cucumber and anything else you want them to eat in a creamy white sauce. That way they’ll lick the bowl clean before you can even say green vegetables!
SERVE DESSERT AND FOOD TOGETHER:
Won’t they just eat the dessert and skip dinner? If you give them just one serving of dessert long with dinner, they’ll still be hungry after that small amount of dessert. So even if the attack the dessert first, odds are they’ll still be hungry and will end up having their dinner too. The trick here is to give a small portion of dessert so they can’t fill up on just dessert. You could serve items like fresh fruit, apple crumble, oatmeal cookies, frozen yoghurt etc to keep the desserts on the healthier side.
SERVE DINNER FOR BREAKFAST:
Whatever your child’s favorite dinner dish is, try serving that for breakfast. If your child loves pizza, serve mini pizza’s for breakfast. Just fill pita pockets with chicken, cheese, tomatoes and serve it up as a mini pizza. If your child loves egg then make an omelette with vegetables and some cut pieces of meat. You could even add some cheese to it! This might make them finish breakfast in no time.
If you child wants chips, offer tortilla chips with salsa. If they ask for French fries, make those at home using less oil and salt. When he/she asks for pizza, try making them at home instead of ordering them from outside. Just by proving similar alternatives to food they crave you can improve their eating habits. Also when you’re cooking at home, you can toss in a lot of vegetables without them finding out!
TRY NEW RECIPES:
Not only kids, every person gets tired of eating the same thing over and over again. Try to find various recipes for one food item so that your child can keep eating the same vegetables without saying “The food is boring”. You’ll find more than 5 ways to make healthy pasta and a zillion ways to make paneer ki sabzi. Actually this little trick might even spruce up your taste buds, not to mention cooking won’t seem like such a tedious task once you get tasty food as the reward!
DON’T TRY TOO HARD:
The more you push, the more they’ll push back. Using threats, bribes, punishments and anger isn’t going to make them eat vegetables. Just sit back and let them eat their food without nagging in between. Eventually you’ll notice the food that used to lie on the corner of the plate is now happily settled in their stomach. This way they’ll learn to eat healthy on their own, especially in the long run. You won’t have to call them during their college ad working years to ask “Did you eat your fruits and vegetables today?”. Phew, now won’t that be a relief.