Several friends asked me how I raise my kids as good eaters because they look like very healthy kids, not fat, not skinny, just look right.
I am not sure if I am just a lucky mom to have good eaters by chance, but I do have some tips to share with other parents.
1, Be a role model.
If you are a good eater, usually, your child will be a good eater too. If you eat junk food all the time, your child will think eating junk food is the only available choice. If you wish to raise a good eater, please be a good eater yourself.
2, Respect your child.
If the child is not hungry or has no appetite for the meal, don’t chase after him all around the house. Missing one or two meals is not a big deal. Sooner or later, your child will feel hungry unless he has some serious problems that need seeking professional help.
If your child tells you he is getting tired of some kind of food. Listen to him. Try to provide another healthy food that he likes.
By respecting your child, he will develop a positive attitude toward the food. A positive attitude is a solid foundation to raise a good eater.
3, Have healthy food in the refrigerator.
When your child is hungry, he will look for food himself. If he can only find healthy food in the refrigerator, he will end up eating healthy food without choices.
How about unhealthy food and snacks?
In my personal opinion, it is OK to eat some unhealthy snacks or fast food sometimes. We are humans. We all have the moment of craving these kinds of food.
However, it is better to set up a rule for eating junk food.
For example, the child can only eat fast food once a month or they can only enjoy two or three boxes of ice cream for the whole summer.
4, Go grocery shopping with your child.
When a child can make a decision about what kind of food he can eat, usually, he will enjoy that food more.
Of course, your child might like buying some unhealthy food, in this case, remind him that he can only buy this kind of food once in a while.
If he bought unhealthy food last week, this week he can only buy something healthy.
If he doesn’t listen to you, tell him that he might lose the privilege to go grocery shopping with you next time. Usually, the child will listen. If not, keep your word.
Be careful: Don’t buy much-processed food.
When I just gave birth to my second child, I had no time to cook for my older kid. So my child ate processed food for the lunch meal when he attended summer camp for two and half months. Just for that one summer, my child gained a lot of weight.
5, Cook simple dishes with your child.
Children love cooking. It is just their nature to explore how food is made.
No wonder that you might find some of your seasoning bottles are empty or a cooking pot is on the oven mysteriously.
When it is time to cook simple dishes, assign your child some work. Your child will be glad to help you and feel proud of what he can do. Guess what, he will be more willing to eat what he just made.
6, Be creative with your cooking.
Many kids don’t like vegetables or fruits. My kids don’t like some kinds of vegetables and fruit either.
In this case, try to be creative to cook some meals mixed with vegetables and fruits. For example, make a pancake with vegetables or make a smoothie containing some fruits.
7, Take your child out to work out.
When your child works out, he will be easy to get hungry, as a result, he will eat more. Don’t forget to provide healthy snacks most of the time.
8, Eat with other children.
When kids are together, they like to imitate each other. If other kids are eating, usually, your child will eat too.
Set up a potluck party at your house or join a local potluck party group or moms club, or invite your mom’s friend and their children to have a meal at a local restaurant. When your child eats with other children, your child not only enjoys food but also makes friends at the same time. How great it is!
9, Don’t expect to have a perfect little eater.
My children are not perfect eaters. They are still picky sometimes. They love pizza, chicken nuggets, and ice cream.
Take it easy if your child is a picky eater or he doesn’t listen to you sometimes. Just work on what you can do and keep giving the best guides you can.
There is a Chinese saying: 谋事在人 (mou2 shi4 zai4 ren2), 成事在天(cheng2 shi4 zai4 tian1). It means: People can plan what they wish to do, but only God can decide if people can get what they wish for.
Be laid-back and have fun with your child. Your child will be fine if they have a caring parent like you. If you have any ideas about raising a good eater, I would love to hear from you.