Nobody is free from junk food cravings. Even as adults, we often struggle with regulating our junk food intake. For our kids, who are super impulse-driven, it’s quite impossible!
The unhealthier a food item is, the more our taste buds crave it. The high salt, sugar and fat content in junk food is what makes it so appealing to us. However, while it may be great for energy, it has little to no value for your child’s nutrition and growth. This is why parents have to make sure to keep a check on their kid’s food habits. But hey, doing so doesn’t have to be hard. You are the one in charge of your kid’s diet. So, here are a few tips you can follow to gently steer your kids away from junk food:
1. Set a precedent:
The best way to control your kid’s junk food obsession is to not form one in the first place. Early childhood nutrition is very important in the long run, what you offer to your kid as snacks sets a precedent for them as they grow up. If they are already used to having a lot of salty snacks, greasy food and sugary desserts, it will be hard to wean them off. Keep your kid’s diet healthy from the start. Don’t instil the practice of eating out often, keep a check on the snacks you buy for them. For instance, instead of sugary sodas, keep fruit juice around the house. Making smart choices in your grocery list will go a long way.
2. You - the role model:
Kids often model their parent’s behaviour. You can’t expect your kids to control their junk food intake if you do not do the same. Whatever food choices you make for your kids, you should stick to a similar routine for yourself as well. Model a healthy lifestyle for your kids and they will learn by example.
3. Healthy snacks:
When our kids are whining about being hungry at completely random hours of the day, it’s easy to just stick a bag of chips in their hands and solve the situation. But taking the easy way out in snack choices will negatively impact your child’s nutrition in the long haul. Opt for healthy snacks whenever you can. Yummy idlis, besan cheelas, chutney sandwiches or cubed fruit skewers are fun choices that you can try instead to keep fussy eaters happy.
4. DIY it:
It sounds great on paper, but realistically, we know it’s not possible to cut unhealthy food out of your child’s nutrition completely. But you can make junk food healthier by just preparing it at home instead of ordering out. When you cook at home, you can control the greasiness factor and also tweak recipes to include more healthy ingredients in them. For example, including veggies in your pasta, using less oil while making fried food, and so on. There are plenty of mommy blogs online that can help you with cooking recipes to keep both cravings and fussy eaters at bay!
Veteran moms know that kids have a notoriously short attention span. Even when it comes to their taste buds, they need to explore different kinds of foods instead of sticking to the same old meals every day. To fulfil a growing child’s nutritional needs, you need diversity. Having variety in terms of healthy snacks is an important aspect of this. By planning out your snacks in advance and keeping your pantry well-stocked with different healthy snack options, you can easily get your kids hooked on healthy snacks.
So there you have it, try these tips out to win any fussy eaters over instantly. But remember, although keeping tabs on early childhood nutrition is important, having a little fun sometimes is important too! Knowing when to splurge on junk food and when to exercise constraint will help you perfect your child’s nutrition needs.