Most children don’t really care about what they eat.

And why would they?

They’re kids, all they care about is not putting that gross capsicum in their mouth…

There are exceptions of course. Many kids these days are educated from an early age about the importance of food with the whole “sometimes food” thing and the food pyramid.

But how do we as parents ensure we instill healthy eating habits in our children so that once they’re old enough to provide food for themselves, they continue to make healthy choices?

Kids often are less than enthralled with healthy options…

That’s the tough question.

It all starts at home in the kitchen.

Kids around the age of nine are at the age when they begin to gain some confidence in themselves and their abilities. And we as parents begin to have more trust in them to handle responsibilities.

Nine is a great age for kids to start helping you out in the kitchen. And this is where they start to get their morals and education about food.

They get it from watching you.

Invite your nine-year-old to help you out with dinner and make a big deal about giving them something they are responsible for.

Put them in charge of making the salad to go with whatever else it is you are cooking. By demonstrating to them why we need to put ingredients like carrots, baby spinach, lettuce and whatever else you want in the salad, you are leading by example on a healthy dinner decision.

Your kids learn from watching you and what you teach them. So get them involved with healthy dinner decisions.

MAKE HEALTHY EATING FUN…

Another way to instil healthy eating habits in your soon to be preteen is to have fun with them making fun healthy foods they can eat.

Show them that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. Making sushi at home is a great example of having fun making a healthy dinner. Coles and woollies sell sushi making kits and you can fill them with all the healthy ingredients you want. Your kids get to have fun making a healthy dinner and they learn to associate healthy dinners with a fun experience.

REINFORCE SOMETIMES FOOD…

Kids need to be shown their favourite treats are “sometimes meals”

Kids need to learn that just because we’re adults and can go to Maccas whenever we want doesn’t mean we should…

It’s completely normal to get a naughty takeaway every now and then but make sure you’re not falling into the trap of buying takeaways often.

If you do get a naughty takeaway for dinner make sure you tell your kids that it’s ok to eat junk food sometimes but it’s unhealthy to eat it all the time. They get told this at school all the time so it needs to be reiterated at home.

You can see why it would be confusing if they’re getting told at school all the time that Maccas is a sometimes food yet mum and dad come home with it every other night so make sure to keep the junk food to a truly “sometimes” quota…

Teaching your nine-year-old healthy eating habits to last a lifetime is not difficult. It just takes a strong parent to lead by example.

Of course, if your family dynamic has been unhealthy in the past and you’re trying to make a change it can be a little more difficult. You’ll find you have to ease them into trying new healthy options by testing them with new various healthy options. You can slowly get their pallet accustomed to new healthy flavours. Sneaking veggies into their dinner is always a good place to start as you can slowly introduce them to new flavours in the foods that they’re used to. But that’s for another article…

Once again it just comes down to setting a good example.

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