Children and Eating Habits
Food Choices and Children's Nutrition
Good Eating Habits and Kids
From toddlers to teens, making sure our kids get the proper children’s nutrition is challenging work. As a parent, we are constantly trying to pay attention to what are children eat and to teach them proper nutrition. Here are some strategies to help teach your child to eat right.
- Sit down as a family and have regular meals.
- When families sit down together for a meal, children’s nutrition improves greatly. Kids are more likely to eat their veggies, and fruits. They are less likely to eat unhealthy foods. Marijuana, alcohol, and smoking is also greatly reduced in families who eat together. Meal time is great opportunity to introduce new foods. You also can act as a role model for good childrens nutrition. If you are not already having meals together, now is a great time to start. Teenagers, especially make rebuff your efforts, they might want more independence, and no make room in their busy schedules. But studies show that teens do want their parent’s advice, and meals together is a great time to connect with each other. You can encourage your teen to join the family meal by letting them have a friend over for dinner. Get your adolescent involved creating and cooking the meals. Make sure meal time together is calm and pleasant. Don’t use this time to lecture or argue. Meals together count, whether they are breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacktime or Sunday brunch. Meals can be take out, (as long as it is healthy and nutritious) eating in a restaurant, or a home made meal. Children’s nutrition and the connection you make is what counts.
- Make sure fruit, vegetables, and healthy snacks are plentiful in the house. Try to work vegetables and fruits into your kids daily routine. We all tend to eat what is available, so when healthier foods are within easy reach, snacking nutritiously is more likely. Peanut butter, cheese and crackers, yogurt are just some ideas for keeping healthy foods around.
Helping Kids Learn About Food Choices
Be a Good Role Model for Your Children
Eat healthy yourself so that you are a good role model for your kids.Talk to your kids about what they eat and the importance of eating nutritious meals. Include lots of protein,lean meats, fish, nuts, beans, and eggs in your daily intake of food. Whole grain cereals and breads will improve children’s nutrition with increased fiber in their diet. Be a good role model, show portion control and better food choices that will show your children wise choices to make too.
Try to model for your children, that you stop when you are full, even if the food is delicisou. If you are always dieting, or focused on your body image, children may pick up these negative feelings and incorporate it into their own eating habits. Be open about nutrition, and the choices you make. Talk to your kids about the benefits of eating right.
Teaching Kids About Nutrition
The Foods We Serve and Our Children's Nutrition
How you cook your food is also important. Healthier cooking methods include broiling, roasting, grilling and steaming. Low fat and non fat dairy products are better choices than whole milk dairy.
Limiting chips and candy will encourage better children’s nutrition. It is best not to eliminate snack foods totally, or your children will feel deprived. Instead, teach them some self control and make it a special treat. Sugary drinks, especially those made with corn syrup and high fructose including soda and fruit flavored drink are best not included in your children’s diet. Drinking water and low fat milk are better choices.
Involve Your Children in the Preparation of Meals
Help Your Children Make Their Own Healthy Food Choices
Let your kids help in deciding what to have for dinner. By teaching them to make choices about healthy eating, you willl be giving them tools for a lifetime about nutrition. When your kids are shopping with you, teach them to read labels on the boxes and jars so they will understand what makes up the food we are ingesting. When they start to understand what to look for, they will gain a sense of control in their food choices.
From having them shop with you to getting them involved in the preparation of the meals, to helping them use their imagination about what they would like to eat that is healthy, you will get your children thinking about the amount of time and thought it takes to put a meal together. Help them gain an appreciation about food and the connection to their own body.These lessons will carry over to their adults years, and help them make proper food choices always.
Family Meals Together Have Many Benefits
Family Meal Time is Very Important
It is very challenging, making the time to figure out what to feed the famiy, shopping for the food, preparing the meals, and then making family meal time actually happen.
Here are some tips to make meal time enjoyable for you and your family:
- coordinate everyone’s schedule so that you know well in advance that everyone will be together and you have enough time to shop and cook.
- get everyone’s help to pitch in so each family member is invested in the meal.
- think ahead, so if there is any preprep work you can do, such as cooking and freezing ahead of time, you may be less frazzled trying to get it all done.
- make your supply list so that you have everything in the house
- let your kids help out in setting the table and helping prepare the meal where it is age appropriate. But make it fun and enjoyable, for them, we don’t want resentment for dessert.
- focus on making the meal pleasant, so that this time will want to be repeated.
- use meal time together to teach politeness, consideration, and proper etiquette, but don’t turn it into a lecture or they may be turned off. Keep the meal light, genuine, and full of pleasantries.
- remember meal time together is about feeling connected, loved, and a family, a team.
- keep everything on a positive note, ask everyone about their day, and interact with each other so that everyone feels they are valued and cared about.
- these together times are precious, appreciate each other and the gift of this moment.
Family meals offer many benefits. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these shared meals are more likely to be healthier and more nutritious. It is also widely known that kids who have regular meals with their familiies, are less likely to eat unhealthy foods, and snack less often than families that do not sit down together for a meal. At the meal, kids are more likely to eat more healthy grains, fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that teens who have regular sit down meals with their family, are less likely to smoke, or abuse drugs or alcohol. They are more likely to have healthier eating patterns as adults. The benefits of wanting to stay connected as a family will stay with them as they get older.
In the daily routine of eating properly and children's nutrition, it is important to encourage your kids to eat properly and show them how to maintain a healthy weight. The things you teach them when they are young, will stay with them for a lifetime. The importance of eating properly will help them make the right choices for themselves.