As adults, we know and understand the importance of healthy teeth and gums. Unfortunately, for most of us, these lessons we understood a little too late in life, leading to a range of easily preventable, yet very painful procedures.
And while you might try and impress upon your children the importance of keeping their teeth healthy, when your argument requires them to cut out sugary candies and replace them with healthier items which won’t destroy their teeth, it isn’t well received.
If this sounds like a familiar scenario, below are some great tips to help!
Slow and Steady
If you remember the tale about the Tortoise and the Hare then you know that slow and steady wins the race. Unlike a sprint, transitioning your children to healthier eating is a marathon which you need to plan for. If you simply replace your children’s food with entirely healthy alternatives, you aren’t going to win.
Instead, take it slow. Start by including one healthy item in their lunchbox, but don’t say anything about it. Do this a few times a week. Then, slowly start to use this item as a replacement for other items, until you can introduce more and more healthy items to their day without them noticing.
Incentives for the Win!
Bribing your children to eat healthily is not a good lesson to teach them in life. However, choosing appropriate incentives as part of a reward system is a great way to help make the transition easier. Items such as small toys they can build after dessert, like sets from the Groupon Coupons page for Lego are a great idea because the reward is immediate.
If you take this tip, be sure to keep your incentives appropriate. For example, eating your vegetables might equal not having to do the dishes that night. However, it certainly isn’t equal to a new phone or computer.
Combat the Flavor!
Just because fast food chains use flavor to enhance the flavor of their foods doesn’t mean that you can’t!
When you start introducing new foods, be sure to put out extra sauces to choose from which can help mask the flavor. While it can seem counterintuitive, the trick is similar to the first tip, where you transition them out, instead of in.
For example, if you serve a lot of steamed vegetables one night, put out some butter to spread over it. Then, as the week goes on, put out less and less butter until eventually, your kids are eating vegetables without any additions. The same method goes for any sauces or gravies that you serve. Be sure they are plentiful at the start, and then transition them out.
Getting your kids to eat healthy to protect their teeth and gums is no easy challenge, but it certainly isn’t the impossible one. Stick with the ideas above and your kids will be eating healthy and keeping their teeth in good shape in no time, and wit