5 Healthy Eating Habits for Kids

There is a concept that anything practiced for 21 days becomes a habit. So if you want your kids (or yourself) to internalize a new routine, you just need to hang on religiously to it for 21 days and voila! It will become automatic.  Food habits are what will define the health of our children and if we can get them into some good habits early on in life, we can avoid many of the health issues that we unconsciously get into as we get older. Here are 5 of the simplest food habits to instill in children which will go a long way in keeping them healthy.

1. Eat at regular times: Fix the meal times at your house. The body has a highly regulated internal mechanism and feeding it on a set basis averts many potential problems like ulcer, unstable blood sugar etc. People who eat on a set time basis definitely have lesser gastrointestinal issues.

2. Insist on breakfast: We have heard it many times before but it is unfortunately the meal that we treat most casually. Breakfast is the meal that sets the energy for the day- give it importance and make it as nutritious as possible. Kids sometimes want to skip this meal especially during exam times – Always insist that they at least eat a banana and drink milk before they leave home.

breakfastSource: www.pixabay.com

3. Insist on eating only at the table: One of the funny things I have read is a recommendation to close your eyes while eating, so that you savour your food. When you are conscious of what you are eating, you digest it better and therefore the nutritional absorption is better. Today many of us eat while watching TV, reading books, on the run, while on the phone and so on. Our health is dependent not only on what we eat, but how we eat and when we eat. And there is whole lot of psychology that goes into eating that is beyond just the composition of the food. Being conscious of eating and focusing on it kicks up its nutritional benefits several notches.

4. ‘Label Reading’ habit: In today’s world of packaged foods, label reading becomes a very important habit. When you take your kids to the grocery store and they ask for something, have them read the label of the product. Pay attention to how much sugar it contains, whether it is a processed food, how many ingredients does it have that sound like chemicals and which we know are not natural. Make label reading a habit along with your child so that they can make wise choices starting early.

FDASource: Wikipedia

5. Water drinking habit: This of course is the #1 habit we need to instill in our children. I have one water guzzler and one child who can go a whole day without a water bottle… and it is a no-brainer as to which one has more digestive issues. So when I send her to school, I tell her, every time the bell rings, she need to drink water before the next teacher comes in.  Water is the biggest regulator in our body and insufficient consumption leads to an entire host of problems including bad skin, fatigue, ulcer, constipation, … the list is almost endless.

waterSource: Wikimedia Commons

Research shows that children as young as 2 years of age imitate the eating habits of their parents. So needless to say, if you are vegging out on your couch with a McDonald’s burger and a diet soda, this train is going nowhere! Let us lead by example and show kids how to have these healthy eating habits by first imbibing them into our lives. Giving up eating in front of the TV is my biggest bad habit to give up. What is yours?

Featured image: Dollarphotoclub.com

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