This is a guest post by Miss T at Prairie Eco Thrifter.

Parents have a significant influence on their children. How you speak, how you act, and how you eat, is modeled by your youngsters. One of the biggest ways you can influence your child’s life and future is with their eating habits. What they eat as young children carries with them to and through adulthood. Therefore, setting a proper example from the get go is very important. Here are 5 tricks you can use to ensure your child eats a healthy diet:

  1. Do what you say. Parents must be an example for their children. Children watch you even when you think they aren’t. If you are sitting down after a long day at work eating a bowl of ice cream and a bag of chips watching the TV, you are sending an unhealthy message. Children won’t know if you have had a hard day or that this is your first treat in a month. All they see is that you are eating and lounging. Instead, make a salad or grab a piece of fruit and offer them some too. Then go for a walk . This changes your message from unhealthy to healthy.
  2. Cook healthier. Cook healthier recipes that the whole family can enjoy. When they ask “what’s this” or complain about something, just tell them you thought you would try a new recipe. Encourage them to try it and see what flavours they taste. Don’t cave in to their demands. Children don’t always know what is best for them, especially when it comes to their diet. Click here for some recipes to get you started.
  3. Make house rules. Make rules in the house that require healthy eating. If you have a child that loves juice, tell them they can only have juice once they drink the equivalent amount of water first. Or, if your child loves candy, tell them they can have a candy after they eat a piece of fruit. This ensures your children eat something healthy when they are hungry that will fill them up so they have less room for the junk. It also gets them into the habit of eating healthier snacks.
  4. Act like your mom did. Remember when you couldn’t leave the table without finishing all of your veggies? Do the same with your kids. Tell them that they can’t do anything else until their plate is clean. Tell them that they can have a piece of your healthy dessert if they clean their plate. Kids learn lessons through reward and punishment very easily. State the rules and stick with them and your kids will learn quick.
  5. Be consistent. Kids will always try to push you harder. They like to know what your limits are. When you decide to implement a healthy eating habit, stick with it. Don’t cave in at the first sign of conflict. Even if your child cries, whines, or kicks up a stink, don’t budge. Stay firm and convicted and make sure your spouse follows suit. Your kids will learn that these are the rules and that they can’t change them. They will soon conform with little dispute and you will be on your way to raising healthier kids.

Remember, healthy eating is a lifestyle, it’s not a one time thing. It is something that needs to be nurtured and cultivated in order to last. Work together as a family to eat healthier and you will all be able to reap the benefits.

So, what have you done with your kids and their eating habits? Made any changes lately?Miss T blogs at Prairie EcoThrifter. She grew up in the Canadian prairies and still lives there today. She is passionate about saving money, being healthy, looking out for our environment, and most of all having fun. Her blog shares tips on how you too can live a green, debt free, and fun life.

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