Teaching Your Children about Good Nutrition
As your child gets older and starts spending more time away from home, it will become increasingly harder to ensure she is getting the nutrition she needs. That’s why it is so important to teach your children about healthy eating now. However, for many parents, how and when to start teaching their children about food nutrition is bit of a mystery.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be. Read on to find out what kind of messages your own eating habits might be sending your child and how you can ensure your child grows up to be happy and healthy.
How are Healthy Eating Habits Formed?
Our parents play an enormous role when it comes what kinds of foods we eat, and what kinds we will enjoy – even into adulthood. That is why it is so important to expose your children to a variety of foods, even at a young age. This will also ensure they are getting valuable vitamins and minerals, which are found in many different kinds of foods.
And don’t forget to set a good example. No matter how hard you try to encourage your child to eat properly, they will never do so if they see you constantly breaking the rules. If you want your child to eat more fruits, vegetables, or high fiber foods then be sure to make those same changes to your own dietary habits. And don’t forget to include regular physical activity in your routine. Not only will this inspire your child to follow suit, but it will also improve your own overall health!
What Can I Do to Get My Child on the Right Path?
Here are some tips to getting your child on the path to healthy eating today:
- Keep trying out new foods and flavors even if you don’t have immediate success. Gradually introducing new foods to your child will help him to be a much more inclusive eater once he’s older, which will not only enable you to cook more flavorful meals, but you’ll also be setting him up for a life of culinary discovery!
- Serve your child a couple of snacks in-between meals to prevent him from overeating. Snack time is also the perfect time to incorporate healthy foods into your child’s diet, such as fruits, veggies, nuts and popcorn (which are also super easy to prepare).
- Limit the amount of sugar in your child’s diet. Avoid pop, candy and fruit drinks that are high in sugar and low on nutrients. The same goes for salty foods like chips and French fries. When your child starts eating too much salt and sugar, she’ll start loosing her ability to taste anything without them!
- Be sure your child is eating breakfast. Although it can often be difficult to get organized in the morning, it’s important that your child go to school with something in her stomach. Not only will this prevent her from overeating at lunch or snack time, but it will also makes her more productive and alert.
- When preparing meals at home, be sure the family eats together. With all the sports, music classes and other activities your children have going on, we know it can be difficult to make the time to eat together. But establishing a dinner routine will do more than just ensure your child is eating healthy; it will also foster better communication for the whole family!
What if My Child Loves Junk Food?
As much as we want our children to eat healthy foods, we simply can’t escape the outside pressures tempting them to do the opposite. And while our instinct may be to just ban those foods and influences altogether, this is not only a highly unrealistic but also a counterproductive line of defense. In fact, it is more likely that putting a ban on certain foods will only make them more appealing to your child – especially once they hit their pre-teen years.
The key is maintaining moderation. Even foods that are very high in sugar and fat are fine as long as they are eaten occasionally and in small amounts. Ice cream, hamburgers or candy bars every once and a while are perfectly okay. In fact, it is better to teach your child about nutrition facts so that he’ll naturally limit his intake of these unhealthy foods, rather than rely on him to teach himself about healthy eating later on in life.