*This post was contributed by Jennifer W.
Admit it: most of us parents are having a hard time introducing our kids to meals other than their usual favorites like mac and cheese, frozen fish sticks, or worse, super sized meals from fast food drive-throughs like buckets of chicken nuggets from McDonald’s. While the main solution in eradicating their unhealthy eating habits is removing these killer food items from their diet, addressing the issues like eating habits and their role models—i.e. household adults—have a far more critical impact to their mealtime culture than the ones they eat. In order to slowly assimilate “adult food” to their systems, here are some tips that might come in handy.
1. Get them involved
If you want your kids to finally outgrow their mac and cheese phase, the best way to allow them to try new cuisines is to get them involved. From buying healthy ingredients at Whole Foods, preparing them in the kitchen, up until cooking your dinner—if you allow them to participate in cooking your meals, you are actually sparking their interest in the kind of food you want them to eat. Aside from this, they are more likely to eat the dish because they just spent hours helping you cook it. Just keep them away from knives, though.
2. It’s okay to dine out
There is nothing wrong with eating outside with the whole family—as long as your idea of dining out is not rushing to the nearest fast food chain and gorging buckets of chicken and tons of fries. If you want to set an example to your children, make sure you eat your hearts out in a restaurant that serves real food with delectable dishes and exquisite flavors. For instance, one Asian fusion restaurant in the East End of London is starting to make a name for itself because of its wild mix of Asian, European, and Middle-Eastern cuisine. 100Hoxton a budding restaurant in the heart of London’s Shoreditch, serves more than just food; their food also tickles your taste buds with a wide and wild array of lingual tones. Whether you want to introduce your children to veggies, new meat dishes, or even seafood delicacies, there’s always one for you in 100 Hoxton.
3. Cut the bad habits
Unhealthy eating habits like watching TV during dinner or eating out of the dining table set bad examples for kids, which in turn will reflect their future mealtime culture—even if you’re just munching a Clif Z Bar. If you want them to show respect to their meals, make sure you impose strict dinner rules like no TV while eating. According to research, eating while glued to television takes your mind off your meals, thus making you consume more than you should. After all, what’s a better way to eat than facing each other while engaging in a healthy conversation?