How to Make Healthy Eating for Kids Fun
With just several weeks to Chinese New Year, we are sure that your homes are filled with festive decorations, auspicious mascots like the God of Fortune, fortune cats or the zodiac animal of 2021 - the ox. The adults might be busy preparing their homes for visitors by doing spring cleaning, grocery shopping and ang bao packing, but let’s not forget that there are plenty of activities that can also involve both the young and young-at-heart at home during Chinese New Year preparation.
Most parents will be concerned about their children going on a junk food rampage during the festive period - who can resist all the pineapple tarts, mini spring rolls, fried crabstick crackers and bak kwa? The last thing we want is for our children to fall terribly sick and miss out on celebrations and time with family during this important time. Read on for some of Kidchamp’s recommended ways to encourage your children to eat more healthily during this festive season.
1. Cook With Them
Cooking together with your kids is probably one of the best ways to bond with them and also teach them the importance of forming healthy eating habits. Instead of buying ready-made tarts or crackers, try preparing one or two batches with your kid at home. This will allow you to control the amount of sugar and butter used while baking and you might just be able to create a healthier version of your kid’s favourite Chinese New Year snack at home! This will also give them an idea of what healthy snacks would look and taste like.
During the process of cooking or baking, let your kids help to measure sugar, salt and other ingredients needed for the snack. This will allow them to visualise the actual amount of oil and sugar used to make their favourite snacks and gives you a window of opportunity to explain to them why such a high amount of sugar and oil in our food can be harmful to our health.
Letting your kids get some behind-the-scenes action in the kitchen will give them a sense of pride when they see and taste the final product as they helped to make it from scratch. They will also learn how to appreciate food better after witnessing and taking part in the process of production and understanding the amount of effort needed to make their snacks.
2. Let Them Decide
Instead of restricting your child from binging on heaty snacks during Chinese New Year visiting, let them place restrictions on themselves. This method is feasible as it will heighten your child’s self-awareness whenever they snack. You can start by asking them how many pineapple tarts or love letters do they think they should be allowed to eat in a single day, and make sure they keep tabs on their own snack count. If they exceed their self-imposed limit, you can feel free to impose agreed-upon punishments such as sacrificing a fried chicken or a can of fizzy drink during dinner time.
3. Lead by Example
All parents fear the day where our kids catch us not practising what we preach as all our reliability and credibility will be thrown out the window. Instead of giving your kid the opportunity to say “Why is Mummy allowed to eat, but I’m not”, give them reasons to say “I won’t snack since Mummy doesn’t too”. This method will earn you some brownie points with your child and at the same time builds onto your strong and trusting relationship with them. Of course, your child will also be more likely to listen to your advice or instructions in future.
Despite the ongoing pandemic in Singapore, the festivities for Chinese New Year will not be dampened and we should take the chance to spend time with family that we haven’t seen in a long time despite Covid-19 regulations. May the new year bring us an abundance of blessings for our family and our children.
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