6 tips to avoid kids from unhealthy snacking

21 November 2022
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Growing kids need more calories to sustain their development. If they do not have access to healthy foods, they might turn to unhealthy alternatives. According to a recent study, children preferred snacking frequently and often indulged in unhealthy snacks. Easy snacking options such as cookies, chips, cakes and noodles make it to most lunch boxes where more students get introduced to them. Moreover, your kid's increased access to the outside world, television advertisements and the influence of their peers can affect their dietary choices. Lastly, there is also the possibility that your child may get hooked on a particular product and be petulant when they don't get it.

As a parent, it's normal to worry about your child's eating habits. You might even be looking for tips on how to stop craving junk food. While it may require effort and patience on your part, here are some tips on how to encourage your child to eat healthy.

Make healthy food fun for your little one
This is where you might have to go the extra mile in making healthy snacking fun. They could be out playing with their friends, back from an afternoon music lesson or just getting impatient, hours before dinnertime and might ask you for snacks to nibble on. Tackle this by keeping fun combos of fruits and yoghurts, dry fruits or vegetables and dips handy. Some fun ideas could be apple slices in chocolate-flavoured peanut butter, a bowl of colourful fruits, or toasted dry fruits. Apart from this you can consult your paediatrician about healthy junk food snacks and incorporate those too.

Be the model healthy-snacker
Children model after their parents a lot more than you think. They pick up on your traits and habits easily and you can use this to your benefit. Be the model healthy-snacker by emphasising how good it feels to eat healthily, how tasty what you are eating is and how you don't want to share. Say no to junk food as much as you can. Sit down and eat with them and always put everything you want them to eat on your plate. Your child might actually start eating healthy just to feel as important as you.

Have meal and snack timings
Routine helps regulate unhealthy snacking. Have specific timings for all your meals and make sure you have them together as much as you can. It isn't ideal to refuse your child food if they are hungry at an odd time, but you can use this to set rules about eating only healthy foods. Apart from that, planning weekly menus and involving your child in making important decisions can make them feel more responsible too. The goal is to make healthy eating a fun habit that is easy for them to stick to. Be patient and have a cheat day for all your delicious snacks that you can look forward to together.

Don't reward your child with unhealthy food
Rewarding is a great way to have your child develop ideal behaviour traits and habits. However, if you use junk food as a reward it only encourages the habit of eating healthy. Most ready-to-eat snacks contain addictive flavouring substances that might make your child crave them more. Hence, it is best if they know that unhealthy foods are not rewards for being good. This is the first step how to stop fast food addiction.

Try not to introduce your child to sugar
According to research, sugar is one of the most addictive substances available today. While our body doesn't need it, humans tend to consume excessive quantities of it because it tastes and feels good. Amongst the many health tips for kids is to avoid introducing them to sugar until they're much older. Even then don't make its consumption a regular thing. Substitute refined sugar with fruits and dry fruits such as figs or honey.

Explain the benefits of healthy snacking to them
As kids grow older, making them feel included and responsible can affect their behaviour patterns. Every now and then try to explain to your child why unhealthy snacking is bad for their health. If they like sports or outdoor activities, use that as a reference to encourage better eating habits. Let them know that they can play better only if they eat better and educate them on how to stop eating junk food. Lastly, take them grocery shopping with you so they really feel like they are in control of what they eat.

Healthy snacking does not need to be a boring affair. You can make it interesting by experimenting with fruits, vegetables and dry fruits. Most discretionary foods have addictive flavouring agents in them that by themselves are not as harmful. Try incorporating fun flavours into vegetables that your child hates to help them avoid unhealthy snacking. Educate them, treat them with respect and indulge them in all your meal preps to make healthy snacking fun.

At Podar Education Network, we prioritise a child's healthy growth and development. Good eating habits and physical fitness are encouraged as much as academic excellence. Visit our website to know more.

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