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How to guide kids on how to stop eating junk food as much as possible?

Nowadays, children are fascinated by the developing world and modern food habits. They prefer to have a packet of chips, with a cold drink and pastry instead of chapatti with a curry. They are not aware of the harmful effects of fast food on health, which is necessary to stop eating junk food as much as possible. It is better if one could cultivate a healthy eating habit from a very young age. Parents play an important role in imbibing the right childhood eating habits that also include eating junk food in less quantities.

Here are a few tips on teaching children how to avoid junk food everyday:

Explain! Do not scold

  • Just explain to them how unhealthy it is for them to eat too many chocolates and drink too much Pepsi. You can talk to them gently and explain to them that they will ruin their health if they eat the way they do. It may not be possible to have no junk food at all in the beginning but it is easily possible to reduce its consumption and avoid having it daily after sharing the harmful effects with them.
  • If your child is doing something wrong, you do not have to keep on yelling at him all the time. If you scold or thrash the child, he cannot tolerate such abuse, so he vows to himself that he will get even with the father when he grows up. And then he treats his father in exactly the same way when he is older.

No one in the world improves through physical or verbal abuse. They benefit from being shown the right way to act.

  • Right understanding will result in right behavior. So, when it comes to how to stop eating junk food, you need to first change the belief and understanding of kids that junk food is good and beneficial. Changing the understanding will take time; so, have patience and read and gather information to increase your knowledge and share the same with kids. Change in behavior will take some more time; so, have more patience. To cultivate patience, Param Pujya Dadashri has given tools of prayer to the inner soul.

Practice the principle of limits with junk food for kids

You may limit the unhealthy items to be once a day or once a week. Or eat a fruit or salad before eating junk food or go for a one-hour active sport/gym/jog/dance/voluntary work. Appreciate your child when s/he takes small steps towards this.   

Do not stuff your house with junk food

We say children eat too much junk. But would you resist eating your favorite chocolate if it’s in front of you? No isn’t it! So first make sure you don’t buy and stuff your house with sugar and fat rich food. Resist the urge to buy such bulk offer unhealthy food and buy alternate healthy food. Any change is painful - especially the first step, but once the purpose is clear it will be less painful.

Sweets have an adverse effect on children

Let’s see what Param Pujya Dadashri says about sweets:

Questioner: Is it all right to feed magas (a heavy and rich sweetmeat made with a lot of ghee) to the children?

Dadashri: No, you should not feed magas to children. Magas or any such heavily fat-laden sweets cannot be given to the children. Children’s diets should be kept simple. Even their milk intake should be limited. People keep stuffing their children with dairy products. Such foods promote passion and excitement in children. Even at the age of twelve, a child will begin to have sexual thoughts. You should give your child the kind of diet that will decrease such hyperactivity. Children have no idea about all this. They do not have any awareness of how to live life at all.

Questioner: This view itself is wrong, ‘How can I make my child fit and healthy?’

Dadashri: People do not have any clue as to how to nurse and raise a child. As a result, they cause more harm while raising a child. People understand only the physical liability (liability of the body). This is a nursery!! You will not find such talk anywhere, not in the scriptures, not in books or not in the minds. This is an art. It is an amazing art; it is a new science. A child should be made wise. One without any provocation, how wonderful! How can you look for values in a child and no provocation both, when you give rise to his provocation by feeding him food of provocation? Feed him a simple meal like daal (lentil soup), rice, vegetables; it is a wonderful diet, there is nothing wrong in that.

Give him other tasty food

Give the child some home-made food, which is made up of less oil and less sugar. Try out varieties of tasty dishes so that he finds taste only in this food and gets tired of any other food. Give him the best quality of food. Give him such wonderful food that he only thinks about eating that kind of food. He will then not like and avoid junk food. This is perhaps the easiest key to guide kids on how to stop eating junk food.

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