Old habits die hard, especially if it’s something that people have been doing since they were young. This can apply to both good and bad habits that people carry until well into their adulthood. Among these are people’s eating habits, which can be correlated to what kind of relationship they had with food during their childhood.
As a parent, your duty is to your children because they can only depend on you for emotional care and support. That also includes the duty to provide them with necessities like food, clothing, shelter, and education. But while you may have covered every base as well as you can, one aspect will always need more attention: food.
Your children’s relationship to food is developed every time you feed them, whether it’s a snack, meal, drink, or whatnot. From their initial exposure to food and how you feed them that particular food, it will have an impact on the relationship they form. This can result in several ways.
For instance, if you’re the type of parent to force vegetables on your children, then they might be more hesitant to eat those specific vegetables even when you aren’t around. This is because they have learned to associate your strict attitude with the food that they eat. Keep in mind that your kids are smart, and they will remember everything even if they don’t tell you.
That’s why it’s important to create a healthy relationship to food, especially if you want to introduce them to a healthier and cleaner lifestyle. This can be a great way to transition them from junk food to whole food, which you can do with the following hacks:
1. Be Creative with the Food You Make
When dealing with kids, it’s all about using your creativity and imagination so that you can converse in the same language or wavelength. Since you’re the adult in this conversation, you must be the one to adjust to the situation without compromising your values about living a healthy lifestyle.
One great way to make this happen is by having their favorite cartoon characters on some elements of their food, such as printed on their juice box or their utensils. You can also look into different mold shapes that you can use to shape fruits and veggies before giving them to your children.
On special occasions, you can use plant-based ingredients in your cakes. There might be some slight differences in flavors compared to the traditional cakes, but that can easily be masked by placing animal-inspired cake toppers. That way, you can divert the kids’ attention to the design and less on the taste of their food.
2. Maximize the Colors of Fruits and Veggies
Children tend to be drawn to food that is colorful and vibrant because all the colors pop out. You can use this quality to your advantage because most fruits and vegetables have bright, vibrant colors that you can include in the food you make. This way, you can hone an amicable relationship with whole food.
If you can, try not to make meals that look dull or taste bland because that might turn them away even before they have the chance to taste the food. The visual factor is important for small children because the very first thing they do is eat with their eyes. If the food doesn’t have an appealing factor, you may have a difficult time feeding that to your children.
3. Season All the Meals Appropriately
The worst thing you can do with food is to under-season them, especially with naturally bland products like root crops. That’s because if your children are continuously given bland food, they might no longer be excited to try them next time even if you tweak the recipe due to their bad experience.
Besides, if you’re worried about using seasoning because it’s unhealthy to use MSG or other artificial flavorings, then you need to research what natural seasonings you can use. Some herbs and spices can taste magical when used appropriately, so experiment with them and properly season your food.
4. Gradually Switch to Healthier Options
Lastly, don’t expect to get this done overnight. Your kids’ taste buds need to be exposed to healthy food over time, which means that you need to do this until they are old enough to make their own food. It might seem exhausting, but it’s also a good way to train yourself to choose healthier food options.
Of course, you can treat yourselves to cheat days and eat takeout food, but the important thing is that you don’t revert to old habits. By honing a good relationship with food, you can eliminate your kids’ desire to resort to junk food based on their current emotions, which they can carry out until adulthood.
When you’re introducing new food to your children, you have to ensure that they can maintain an amicable relationship. That’s because it can also turn into an abusive relationship that results in eating disorders. But if you can eliminate that from the beginning, then it might spark a better relationship with food altogether.