We all want healthy kids, but it can be tough to deny your little one when they're begging for a treat after a long day of shopping.
A lifetime of striving for healthy eating may tell you that indulging is the opposite of optimum health, but it's actually balance that's most important when it comes to nutrition.
As it turns out, letting your kids indulge from time to time isn't such a bad thing for their health after all.
Eliminate Emotional Eating
Food is a very powerful thing—it helps nourish the body, it keeps you alive and it can even change the course of your health.
But food can also often have an emotional impact. Think about all the times food was used as a reward for hard work or at the centerpiece of a celebration. Think about how your parents may have talked about food in a way that could make or break your happiness.
Instead of attaching emotion to food and labeling certain cravings as "bad," try simply letting your child have it. That's a lot of control to give up, but it will have a positive impact once your child can get past connecting certain foods to specific emotions.
Create Balanced Meals
Everyone has a favorite snack, but having variety is essential.
Next time you're loading your child's school lunch, put in nutritious items you know he or she will like, including one new thing to try and one indulgent item like chips or a small dessert. Now that's balance.
On the next pizza night, fix up a side salad for everyone to enjoy. Indulgence doesn't have to be all-inclusive or a big deal. A balanced meal will help your little one feel satisfied, instead of chasing after the elusive treat.
Listen to the Body
The human body is incredibly intelligent. It sends all sorts of physical signals when you eat, when you're hungry and when you're full.
Learning to tune in to the body's cues will do a world of good. We are born with that intuition—babies refuse food when they're full and toddlers only eat what tastes good to them.
Help your child reconnect with their body's signals by letting them indulge every once in a while.
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