Your children should eat nutritious meals, especially when they’re at school. So what should you consider when making their lunch?
Kids are often fussy eaters, often rejecting healthy vegetables and fruit in favour of junk food. Since you want them to eat something during their meal times and not go hungry (besides, you take so much effort cooking nutritious meals which they only toy with all during dinner), you often give in to their demands for cheese-laden, greasy food that tastes great but has no nutritive value.
However, you are setting a bad habit for your kids. Once a child develops a taste for junk food, he or she can rarely outgrow it. What is worse, several parents themselves eat a lot of junk food in front of their children, which takes away their authority when they try to discipline their children later on. The lack of nutritive food in their diet causes several developmental and health issues, notable among them, diabetes and obesity. So how should you switch your children on to healthy meals?
Insist on healthy lunches
As such, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but the lunch a child eats is no less important. Lunch comes at a crucial time in the day – school is almost over, but there is still the rest of the day to deal with. Your child needs a lot of energy to tackle school homework, play activities, hobbies and other tasks, so you must ensure that your child’s lunch packs in all the essential food groups without being bland and unappetising.
Talk to your child about nutrition
Your child will listen to you if you talk to him or her in a way he or she can comprehend what you are saying. Involve your child in making the meals. If a child assists his parent in chopping vegetables or stirring in the sauce or even setting the table, he will feel involved in the cooking process. During this time, subtly slip in information about why you are using certain veggies and certain seasonings. If your child is interested in cooking his lunch, he will be interested in eating it too.
Let your child have healthy treats
Every other child is eating oily junk food and sipping colas. Your child will also demand the same. But instead of fizzy drinks, pack his bottle with homemade juice. Instead of a hamburger from the local restaurant, prepare vegetable or chicken nuggets at home and use low-fat mayonnaise in his sandwich. This way, you are allowing your child to eat sandwiches and drink juices like everyone else, only they are healthier than what his friends are having.
Teach your child to respect food
Discourage any attempts to waste food or refusal to eat food that your child doesn’t like. Once a week, insist that your child prepare his own lunch. This will teach him not just to fix his meals when you are busy, but also to value the effort that goes into preparing food.