Easy tips to discourage kids from eating junk food
Most of the mothers would have a consensus on this topic. Their kids are averse to eating home cooked food like rice, dal, vegetables and chapattis whereas they love to gorge on junk food like colas, pizza, chips, burgers and fries. Making children gulp the healthy food becomes a challenging task for mothers. Is the junk food really that harmful? If yes, then how can we refrain our kids from eating it?
Junk food, or fast food as it is popularly called, is high on calorie, fat, carbohydrates and processed sugar. It is low on nutrients and high on calorie intake which results in following problems in kids-
- Lower concentration skills
- Lower IQ
- Lower energy levels
- Risk of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, higher cholesterol
- Depression and increased stress
- High levels of sodium in body
- Increased risk to heart, liver and kidney
All of us are aware of the harm the junk food is causing to our kids. It is like slow poison for our bodies. Despite knowing the ill effects we can’t leave our kids at the behest of the fast food chains and junk food manufacturers. It is high time we act on it. All of us would like to secure a healthy future for our child. Nutritive food choice in childhood years serves them like a fixed deposit when they grow up.
While there are many parents who themselves are addicted to junk food and love to splurge on it, most of them find it difficult to refrain kids from eating these tempting food items as the markets are flooded with packaged foods, restaurants serve us scrumptious unhealthy delicacies and advertisements entice our kids with catchy jingles of junk food.
Here are 9 easy tips which can help parents to discourage children from being a junk food junkie-
Follow a healthy dietary choice yourself– Do as you except your child to do. Children are too smart to follow the global gyan unless they see their parents leading by an example. Like- Encourage cycling, walking to nearby stores/ markets with your children. Prefer climbing stairs to using elevators.
Junk food Fridays– A blanket ban is not a feasible. It will further aggravate the cravings for it. So it is better to assign a day of the week when children can eat junk food. It will make them more responsible for their choice of food and help them in weaning off junk food from their food palate.
Don’t let your child be the potential target of advertisements of these products- I always ensure that my son knows that whatever is shown in the advertisements is not always true. Children should have the wisdom to check the veracity of the facts shown to them. Maggie fiasco was a thunderbolt which has shaken our confidence in the fast food industry. Meri Maggie advertisements have fooled us for too long before their misadventures came to light.
- Visit a restaurant which offers healthy choices – Avoid birthday party venues (like Mc D and KFC) that sell junk food for your kid’s birthday. We can’t expect a child to be a saint and say ‘No’ to a burger after stepping in McD.
- Discuss the repercussions and give them a proof – You can show these videos to kids, they are smart enough to understand the repercussions. These are videos of actual experiments on junk food done by some curious and sensible souls. Click on this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uHxRwQqWFo
- Remove the junk from junk food– These junk food companies sell trash to us. It is time for us to prove that moms are smartest beings on this planet and no one can fool us. Step into your kitchen and get into a smart cooking mode. Choose grilled over fried cooking, avoid creamy and calorie laden toppings, choose healthy shakes to sugary juices. Soups and fresh juice can be served along with these snacks to make them more nutritive and healthy. It is best to involve kids in cooking simple snacks for themselves.
- Make food interesting– Children love colours. Veggies/fruits can be used to add colour to any dish. Smiley idlis, mickey mouse dosa, clown sandwich can be mouth watering even for adults, isn’t it? The chef in Fortune, Goa served this dosa to my son.
- Start early in life– Inculcate habits early in life. Children start gulping down colas and junk food at a young age. This is the reason we can see unprecedented rise in never heard before health issues in children. It is wise to make children aware of their choices.
- Appreciate your child’s choice– Last but not the least, recognize and appreciate your child. Encourage him to spread the word amongst his peer group.
Happy healthy eating!