Teaching Your Kids About Healthy Eating Habits
This is literally every parents dream-teaching the kids what is healthy meal, and implementing healthy eating habits to them.
By modeling healthy eating habits and behaviors, you can help your children maintain a healthy weight and normal growth later on. The eating habits they pick up when they are young, will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout their entire life.
Food education is simply NECESSARY.
How To Do It?
One of the most important aspects of maintaining healthy lifestyle are food portions. Their proper control and cutting down on how much fat and sugar your child eats or drinks is crucial. You can begin with controlling fat intake and you can serve products such as:
- Whole grain breads and cereals
- Healthy snacks such as fruit and veggies
- Poultry without skin
- Lean cuts of meats
This is only the start. It is recommended to cut on the sugars in sweetened drinks or snacks, and even to lower salt intake.
Of course, if you are not sure which measures to take, how to select and prepare a variety of foods for your family, you can always consult a registered dietitian for professional nutrition counseling.
If your children are already obese, it is not recommended to put them immediately on a strict diet prior you consult a nutritionist and a doctor who will supervise the process of loosing weight.
Don’t do it on your own, since un-intentionally you may harm your child. Now you see why you as a parent need to work on implementing healthy eating habits to your children?
Of course, you may wonder which approach to take? Well, here are few of them that have been approved.
1. Choose Food Well
It is important, that YOU – as a parent, have the knowledge of healthy eating habits and what health food represents in general. It is your silent obligation to provide variety of healthy foods choices which should be available in the house.
This ongoing practice will certainly help your children to learn how to make healthy food choices and implement good healthy eating habits.
You should avoid unhealthy choices like chips, soda and sweetened juices at the grocery stores. Rather serve water with their meals.
2.Explain Why Eating Slowly Is Good
Before you offer a second serving, ask your child to wait at least 15 minutes to see if they are truly still hungry. This time sequence will give the brain time to register fullness.
But, if your child still insist on a second serving, make it in smaller quantity than the first one. Explain your child that when eating slowly and chewing food more, it helps the digestive process by avoiding gas bloating after meals. And of course, the state of fullness will emerge sooner.
Explain them when eating fast, they stuff themselves with too much food and they might have digestive problems later.
3.Gather At Family Dinner More Often
In this fast living era it became difficult to gather as a family for meals. Parents work all day and often overtime, and slowly the family bonding is diminishing. Well, we should all fight this and strive to gather as much as we can.
Our family should be our priority no matter what!
When you do gather at meal time, try to make them as pleasant as possible with lots of conversation and sharing, and not make it as a time for arguing.
If mealtimes appears to be unpleasant, your children may try to avoid them wanting to leave the table as soon as possible, or eat faster to do so.
If you gather at meals and only arguments are present, they may associate eating with stress, and they will try to avoid family meals like hell.
Observe how YOU-as a parent behave during meals, and remember – YOU are their prime role model they look up to.
Don’t mislead them in any way.
4.Involve Them In Food Shopping And Meals Preparation
When you do this together, it might give you some hints which type of food they prefer, and you create opportunity to teach your children all about nutrition, providing them with a feeling of accomplishment.
You can also read labels together and learn what’s good for their health. By doing so, you can make it become lifelong habit for them: read before you buy!
Make some effort to do this, and your kids may become more willing to eat or try new foods that they help prepare. By involving them in such process, you rise their self-esteem and self-worthiness, which is something they need to develop for themselves and have it through life.
5.Snack Time – Make It Healthy One!
Snacks can be planned at specific times during the day and you can make them as a part of a nutritious diet, without spoiling a child’s appetite at meal times.
When making snacks, make them as nutritious as possible, without offering your children occasionally some chips or cookies, especially at parties or any other social events. Continuous junk food snacking may lead to overeating and not to mention possible overweight.
It is also important not to let unhealthy snacks while watching TV or in front of a computer, since they will forget themselves snacking all the time,and they might overeat and ruin perfectly good and nutritious dinner.
6.Food For Punishment Or Reward – Don’t Do That!
Don’t use withholding food method as a punishment, since you’ll make your children to worry if they will get enough food to eat.
If you send them to bed without any dinner, this actions may cause them to worry that they will be hungry and they may try to eat whenever they get a chance.
Also note that when food is used as a rewarding method, children may assume that these foods are better than other foods.
How? If you tell them that they will get their favorite dessert if they eat everything on their plate, it may send the wrong message about vegetables, and you don’t want that to happen,right?
You can still implement healthy eating habits, but not like this!
7.Keep An Eye On Outside Meals
Before you enroll your children to a new school, you should find out more about their school lunch program. If you have no other choice but to enroll them in school with not satisfactory meal program, you can pack their balanced meals, HOPING they will eat them and not some bought junk food.
And of course, when you go together in restaurants, choose healthier food servings on the menu. Remember, you are their role model and they will grow up inheriting your habits, since they unconsciously are mimicking you.
8.What About Picky Eaters?
There is also solution for them to:
- Limit beverages and snacks, to avoid filling up between mealtimes
- Serve new foods with favorite foods to increase the level of acceptance
- Add vegetables to their favorite soup
- Make food fun to be: you can cut the food into unusual shapes or create a food collage (broccoli as trees, cauliflower as clouds, yellow squash as a sun, make eggs look like small mice using pepper seeds for eyes, radish slices for ears etc).
- Offer some new food choice only when your child is hungry and present only one new food at a time
9.Liking Fruit And Veggies – Essential Part Of Healthy Eating Habits
Whether they are picky or not, they don’t always want what is healthy for them, but what is more tasteful. They try to avoid fruit and vegetables in every way they can. But, there are many ways to make them like greens.
How to add more fruits and veggies to your child’s diet?
- Let your kids pick the produce and make it fun to be, let them choose what they prefer
- You can sneak some veggies in other meals and they will not notice(stews,sauces etc)
- Sneak some veggies in sandwiches(in shredded condition so they will not notice them)
- Keep fruits and veggies always available and at hand
What to say, parents have to be highly inventive and creative, so their kids can get proper nutrition which is important for their development.
Always Stay Involved
Stand up for your kids and their health be their advocate. If needed, insist on good health food choices in their school, or make sure your children’s healthcare providers are monitoring cardiovascular indicators like BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Be proactive and let your voice be heard! At the end, you are fighting for every child’s health!
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