When I began eating healthy and thinking of ways I wanted to eat even more nutritious food, at times, it became overwhelming. In the future, to think that I would be making my meals and purchasing produce myself instead of having my parents to rely on is frightening to imagine. It is as if I set up barriers in my mind, and if I refuse to deal with them, I will not be able to succeed in tasks to begin, maintaining, and even eating healthier. I want this post to address ways that can help people deal with anxiety. I will be using an article to approach how you can encourage children or yourself to eat healthier without feeling stressed.

Precise Nutrition’s article ”9 Ways to Take the Anxiety Out of Nutrition for Kids. [Infographic]” gives some strategies to help encourage children to take control of their nutrition to better their bodies. I will address some of my favourite strategies, but I would encourage you to explore this infographic. Parents and guardians’ jobs are typically to shop for food, prepare for the food, provide regular meals at regular times, and make eating times enjoyable. The children decide what specific foods they do or do not eat and decide how much to eat. In my experience, I enjoyed helping my parents occasionally make food or purchase food, especially if it was a dish I found enjoyable. It might be useful to ask a child or an inexperienced cook to help with dishes, so they understand how they are prepared and the various ingredients that create flavour. If they have better understanding of the entire process, the food becomes more meaningful, and they may be more inclined to eat the food to express their gratitude. 

Another fantastic strategy is to be a role model for your kid’s behaviour. When I first changed my eating habits, I looked to my parents for advice and even mimicked many of their food eating patterns. When they ate a salad with me, for some reason, I felt that it was normal and accepted to eat these specific foods. Over time, I adopted and began to own these eating habits solely because my parents helped me develop what I enjoyed doing. It may be a useful strategy to eat mindfully, eat without other distractions, be curious about new foods, and eat nutritious foods that make you feel amazing. It feels easier to change when there is an example to follow, or someone adopts your eating changes. One of the most effective strategies to encourage me to eat vegetables when I was younger was to associate specific foods with superpowers or real-time benefits. For a time, I believed carrots allowed me to see in the dark, that protein allowed me to grow muscles like popeye, and the vegetables would make my brain smarter so that school would be a breeze. Now there are relative accuracies in these statements, but the statements are exaggerated to some extent. After they begin eating the foods actively, it is good to explain the scientifically accurate reasons for their benefits.

The final two strategies from the article are stuff I experienced when discussing my diet compared to someone else who does not eat as healthy as me. For some reason, they considered my diet “good” but considered their eating habits “bad.” There are serious implications with this thinking. When someone eats foods that are not “good” in their standard, they will feel awful about their decisions and may begin to have unnecessary stress. I like to think of it as a choice. I eat healthy because I enjoy eating healthy and believe it is essential for my body to function optimally. If I were to eat something unhealthy, I would choose to eat something unhealthy and then continue to eat healthy following this action. It is okay not to choose an excessively healthy eating lifestyle, but make sure you remember that you can eat more healthily if you choose. You control the food; the food does not control you. Just because you choose something different from someone else’s, it does not mean you are better or worse. A similar strategy is to take the pressure off of eating perfectly all the time. You do not have to eat at the same time each day, you do not have to eat the same bland vegetables each day at exact portions, and you can have desserts. Limiting yourself to things that enhance this sort of pressure is not effective in the long run. You will eventually get bored of your lifestyle and may regress to eating unhealthy foods. Make sure you diversify the food you eat, make healthy and delicious foods, and understand that you do not have to be perfect. The longer you adopt a non-stress eating lifestyle, the easier it will be to continue to eat healthy for your entire life. 

Another strategy that I think is critical that is not discussed in the article is to make healthy foods and eating an easy task. Most people do not need to make overly complex foods that take hours to make. Many want tons of simple meals that are easy to prepare. In preparation for when I will be living by myself, my main staples will be meat and salads, stir fry, stew, sandwiches, wraps, smoothies, rice dishes, pasta dishes, and occasionally eating out at restaurants. These meals are relatively easy to understand and the process of cooking them is not that difficult. You can invest in learning complex dishes and cooking strategies if you want to, but it is not necessary. It is also effective to cut up ingredients and prepare them for when you will be cooking to make the process easier. You can also refrigerate leftovers so that you can eat them over the next few days. Making sure people understand that cooking can be pretty simple once you get the hang of it avoids unnecessary stress and will help people set foundations for other complex foods they want to make in the future. 

Hopefully, you will begin utilising these strategies and take control of your nutrition and eating habits. As opposed to everyone’s beliefs, you do not have to make cooking and eating stressful but can make it a fun task that ends up being fantastic for your body. I am so grateful for all the healthy and delicious foods I eat in my life and am optimistic that I will be able to make foods I enjoy, by myself, in the future.