Developing healthy eating habits is one of the most important lessons you can teach your children. These habits can start at a very young age and stay with them for a lifetime. The following tips can help your kids make healthier choices regarding the foods they eat.
Avoid Battles Over Food
Food can actually cause fights and not the kind that results in food being thrown across the room. Many kids want to eat whatever they want, and some will even resort to throwing a tantrum to get what they want. Establishing healthy eating habits at a young age can avoid these types of battles later on. Don’t use junk food as a reward or take away tasty foods as a punishment. Avoid forcing your kids to clean their plates as this may cause them to overeat.
Involve Them in the Process
If your kids are involved in what goes into their meals, they will be more appreciative and understanding of healthy eating habits. Help them cook meals or prepare them. When taking your children to the grocery store, use it as an educational opportunity. Help them understand how to read food labels and do some comparison shopping. You can also take your kids to a farm to see how fruits and vegetables are grown.
Healthy Foods and Foods to Avoid
For the most part, the same foods that are considered healthy for adults are good for children. Keep a variety of healthy foods on hand so your kids can snack on something nutritious. That includes foods such as fruits and vegetables, lean meats and proteins, and whole-grain breads and cereals. The same is true for foods to avoid. Try to limit the amount of fat, fast food, low nutrient snacks, and sugary drinks your kids have in their diet.
Quick Meal Tips for Kids
- Breakfast – Wake your children up a little early so they can enjoy a home cooked breakfast and not have to eat on the run.
- Lunch – Allow them to help pack their lunch and make wise choices they’ll still enjoy eating.
- Dinner – Sitting down to regular family meals means that kids are more likely to eat well-balanced meals.
The Importance of Healthy Eating for Kids
Proper nutrition for children has a variety of health benefits including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Sharper mental health, making it easier to learn and concentrate
- Stronger bones and muscles
- Higher energy levels
- Healthier immune system
- Easier to recover from illness or injury
For more information check out Portland Pediatric Group’s Healthy Living Guidelines or give us a call at 585-342-5665 today.