Every parent wants to see their child develop into a healthy grownup, by having healthy eating habits and other healthy lifestyle choices that guarantees them maximum success in life.
However, not every parent knows how to encourage their kids on this road from an early stage of life, and perhaps, that’s even why you’re reading this article right now. Good news, we have a few healthy eating tips that you can try yourself with your little one.
The first key in helping your child understand the importance of healthy eating is know that your decisions and habits as a parent either encourage or discourage your child to embrace healthy eating habits from an early age. Simply put, kids are like copycats and whatever you do, they will do.
When you wish to encourage your kids to eat healthier, you set the primary example. It’s not realistic to think we can eat pizza and sweets nonstop and then expect our children to to love to eat baby carrots and lean meats.
Need a little work on your own diet? Me, too! The good news is that making changes in your own diet will also set a great example and encourage your kids to enjoy healthy eating.
According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, the typical American diet exceed the recommended intake levels or limits in four categories: calories from solid fats and added sugars; refined grains; sodium; and saturated fat.
When they are small, children don’t really know that there’s so much “junk food” available or that candies, soda drinks and other products can be dangerous to our overall health when consumed in excess. It’s easy to suggest not even bringing these foods to their attention by not keeping the in your household, but eventually they will be exposed to them at friend’s homes or through school or social activities.
Rather than rattling off a list of “don’t eats” or making too many foods taboo, teaching children about good nutrition and proper portions can set a great foundation for them to make wise choices down the road.
Resources like Kids Health http://kidshealth.org/ offer excellent tips and educational resources. Products like Kidliga (pictured) provide tools to help support your efforts. The Kidliga innovative line of “right-sized” dinnerware, serveware and glassware to helps you to guide your children to easily manage their food consumption.
Each piece of Kidliga dishware is designed to serve a balanced meal with the correct serving sizes. The sets include a special book for parents to share with their child which has a magical mission to discover a balanced meal, recipes, activities and more. (And if you need support, Kidliga’s parent company, Livliga offers a variety of adult-size portion control products!)
Take time to prepare nutritious meals for your kids starting with the first meal of the day. In addition to benefiting overall health, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function (especially memory) and improved mood.
Offer your child healthy high-fiber breakfast, without the traditional sugary cereals or white sugary breads. Adding a fresh natural smoothie at the end may also make them love and look forward to their breakfast time.
Follow through by preparing a tasty and healthy lunch with whole bread, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Avoid deli and other synthetic meat based products, when possible and look for all-natural and organic options.
Keep healthy snacks available in your car and pantry all the time and set an hour for the last meal of the day. Work together throughout the day to make eating nutritious meals a fun time for all. Talk about and process how well your day went and if you need to make adjustments for the next day.
If your child is super fussy when it comes to veggies and fruits, introduce them one at a time to find favorites. Then try blending some less favorite selections with their favorites or “hide” them interesting ways, such as adding zucchini to muffins or whole grain pizzas, to encourage a more well-rounded selection. If you have a garden, encourage your child to help plant and tend to the garden throughout the season. Their pride of accomplishment and curiosity will often lead to their acceptance of more fruits and vegetables.
When you practice healthy habits, kids will learn what foods make them feel good and they naturally head for the healthiest option, even when they’re grownups, as well.
Special thanks to Kidliga for providing sample product to help support our healthy eating habits conversation. All thoughts and opinions are that of Rural Mom.