Healthy eating is about motivation, balance and flexibility. Children, similar to adults, are often motivated by their emotions. Your child's desire to eat is controlled by true hunger, appetite and satisfaction.
Some people eat — despite a lack of physical hunger —to reduce anxiety or other negative feelings. Often, our emotions get the best of us and we find ourselves eating out of boredom or frustration, or to feel pleasure and get satisfaction from the foods we eat. When upset, people often turn to food to solve their problems. But this is just a quick fix, and while food may give a temporary high, feelings soon level off and return.
Adopting and maintaining a healthy diet can take motivation. Encouraging your child to eat healthy foods and be physically active can be challenging. It requires patience, practice and time.
Here are some suggestions:
- Be positive.
- Try to eat only when hungry and teach your child to do the same.
- Eat at the table with family members and enjoy mealtime.
- Avoid snacking while watching television or doing other activities and have your child do the same.
- Keep healthy snacks available in the car and at home.
It's important to emphasize essential nutrition for yourself and your children. Rather than reward them with sweets or other goodies, think about children's needs and come up with creative ways to meet them. Genuine, sincere praise goes a long way toward establishing self-confidence and self-esteem in children.