Posts for category: Nutritional Health
Too often, children fall into unhealthy routines when it comes to eating. These habits can jeopardize their long-term overall health, potentially leading to serious complications later in life. In fact, nearly 1 in 3 children in America is overweight or obese. That’s why the early years are important for building a child’s nutrition habits. By starting young and encouraging a fun, healthy diet, it’s possible to lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy, independent eating.
Here are a few simple tips for instilling healthy eating habits in your kids.
- Eat in moderation
Eating healthy doesn’t mean your kids can never have a little “junk” food as a treat. Teach your child the importance of moderation, healthy portion sizes and self-control when it comes to making daily food choices.
- Quality over quantity
Rather than making your child clean his plate, encourage him to eat slowly. This will help your child detect hunger and fullness better, preventing overeating and teaching portion control.
- Shop smart
If you don’t buy it, they can’t eat it. When shopping for foods choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. Stock up on healthy snacks for after school, and avoid buying too many junk foods or sugary drinks and sodas that are stumbling blocks to healthy eating.
- Pack smart for school
Be aware of your child’s school lunch options by reviewing the menu. Help your child understand how he can make good meal choices at school, and if you need to, pack your child a nutritious lunch to ensure he’s getting a variety of healthy foods that he likes to eat.
- Load up on fruits and vegetables
When cooking, introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables into your meals as a great way to get your kids to try—and even acquire a taste for—healthier foods. It may take several tries, so be persistent and creative in your meal planning.
- Set a good example
One of the best ways a parent can support healthy eating habits for their child is to model similar habits. Most kids are more willing to try foods if they see their parents enjoying them.
- Make meals family-time
Eat together as a family when possible, and make mealtime fun by trying new foods together.
Bottom line: Instilling healthy eating habits in children is an ongoing process that takes time and patience, but the benefits of a healthier lifestyle can last throughout their entire life. Talk to your child’s pediatrician for guidance if you have questions about your child’s eating habits or dietary needs.
Sometimes a sit-down meal seems impossible at times for busy families and making sure that a meal is healthy feels like an even bigger challenge. With a little organization, you can have the chance to serve healthy meals and sit down as a family once again. However, other nights you might find yourself on the go throughout the dinner hour. With help from your pediatrician, you can establish proper eating habits throughout the day.
Studies suggest that children who skip the morning meal run a greater risk of being overweight, which is why experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. By skipping breakfast, it is next to impossible for children, and adults, to make up for the nutrients lost. Healthy breakfast foods, such as milk and whole grains, provide an array of nutrients necessary for proper growth and good health. Additionally, breakfast provides a positive effect on academic performance because after about 10 hours or so without food, eating in the morning fuels the brain and body for the day ahead.
Throughout the day, it is important to snack smart. Make sure you buy healthy snacks and portion them into individual servings so that you always have a grab-and-go snack for each member of the family. A snack between meals is important to keep hunger at bay and prevent binge eating. Students also need snacks to help them concentrate and learn at school, and working adults who keep healthy snacks on hand are less likely to hit the vending machine in the afternoon.
Make Smart Restaurant Choices
Yes, there will be times when a busy family has to eat out, but doing so does not have to derail your healthy eating goals. Choose the restaurant you will go to ahead of time and use its website to look at the nutritional information for the menu items offered. This allows you to make a choice that is healthy ahead of time so you are prepared when you get there. Avoid looking at the menu again, if possible, so that you are not tempted to choose something unhealthy.
Talk to your pediatrician for more information on how you can properly plan meals for your busy family. Remember, proper eating habits help your family throughout the day.