6 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in Kids
Take the control back into your hands when it comes to your children’s health and nutrition. Your home plays an important role in your children’s nutrition since adolescents consume about 60% of their daily energy from foods at home.
Help build a proper nutritional foundation for your children with these 6 tips.
1) Have Regular Family Meals
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, eating together as a family can become a heart-warming and health-giving ritual for all involved. Not only can you catch up with the school and social life of your children, but your children will likely be better for it. Kids who frequently dine with their parents eat more fruits and vegetables, tend to do better in school, watch less TV, are less likely to smoke or drink, and have a more positive attitude.
2) Cook Meals at Home
Keep your wallets and children’s bellies full with at-home prepared foods. According to a recent survey, Americans are willing to pay two to three times higher prices for convenience in food. But you don’t have to sacrifice time for nutrition. Add vegetables and fruits to ready-made entrées, purchase pre-washed salads, use frozen, already washed and chopped vegetables as easy additions to any meal, and whole ready-to-eat fruit for simple desserts.
Studies show that at-home preparations are positively related to nutrient intake. Healthy at-home meals, combined with nutritious school meals, can provide your child with proper dietary intake of protein, vitamins and minerals.
3) Let them choose
Since you are in control of what foods are available for mealtimes and snacks, encourage your kids to decide if and when they are hungry, what they will eat from the foods served, and when they are full. Food should be thought of as nutritious and fuel for energy, so don’t force kids to clean their plates if they are full, or reward with food.
4) Get Kids Involved
Whether shopping for school lunches or ingredients for dinner, teach kids to read food labels so they can begin to know what to look for.
In the kitchen, select age-appropriate tasks so kids can play but still feel involved. It can become an educational and fun experience – like a science experiment! And don’t forget: give kudos to the cook!
5) Healthy Snacks
Snacking can contribute to a healthy diet and doesn’t have to be all about chips and dip. Keep a variety of easily accessible fresh fruits and vegetables in the kitchen and try to avoid purchasing processed snack food. Healthy snacks can provide dietary fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and help your kids avoid excessive fat, sugar or salt.
6) Be the example!
It is as good for you as it is for your children and no lectures involved! Your comfort level in the kitchen and knowledge of healthful ingredients provide a positive food environment for your children and family members. Children learn by example, so show them how to prepare a healthy meal, control portion size, and snack sensibly. Do your best and your kids will thank you for it, even if it is 20 years later.
The views and opinions expressed in this article or blog are strictly those of the author. The contents of this article or blog and any reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service whether by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement or recommendation by ISI Brands and ISI Brands assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, service or process disclosed or referenced herein. All information is provided on an as-is basis and is provide for information purposes only. Always consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.