Dad of Divas' Reviews: Painless Healthy Eating Habits for Kids

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Painless Healthy Eating Habits for Kids

5 Relatively Painless Healthy Eating Habits for Kids

As parents, we work hard to protect our kids from harm. We teach them not to cross the street without looking both ways, and we teach them about stranger danger. We train our kids to practice safety at every turn.

Many of us are less successful at teaching our kids healthy habits, however. One of the areas that most parents struggle with is healthy eating habits. Yet, if the epidemic of childhood obesity is ever going to get under control, we need to find ways to help our kids eat healthier.
It doesn’t help that health foods simply often just don’t taste as good (to kids, anyways) as unhealthy foods. Not only do we have to struggle with a culture that encourages unhealthy eating, we have to struggle with our kids, as well.

Fortunately, there are some relatively painless ways you can help your kids develop healthier eating habits:
  1. Start by controlling what you put in front of them.
For the most part, there’s a good chance that your kids aren’t the ones doing the grocery shopping. That’s up to you. That means it’s also up to you to choose what kinds of foods you have on hand in the house. 

Choosing low-fat or nonfat dairy products, lean proteins, and cereals that aren’t high in fat or refined sugars are a good start.

Accordingly, you can limit their access to sugary snacks simply by making the right choices at the grocery store. Even more than limiting access, you can create a positive environment by always making sure there are some fresh, tasty, health options around. Fresh fruits, carrot sticks, and even celery with a lowfat yogurt dip are all good choices.

2.               Encourage your child to eat responsibly.
There are a couple of aspects to this. One is simply encouraging your child to eat more slowly. When your child eats slower, he’s better able to tell when he’s actually full, or when he’s still hungry.

This also extends into the area of education. Talk to your child about what foods are the best for them. Explain why fatty, greasy foods are unhealthy, and what they do to the body. Talk about what a balanced diet means.

3.               Make food a family thing.
Involve your kids in the process of choosing and preparing foods for the family. This will not only tell you what kinds of foods your kids really like, it will give you an opportunity to work with them to identify healthier options. It’s a great way to teach them about nutrition, and to help them learn a little about cooking, too. When your child is involved in preparing the meal, she’s much more likely to want to eat it.

Eating together as a family is often difficult in this day and age, but it’s also a good way to help children develop healthy eating habits. Make mealtimes a peaceful time of talking and sharing with one another. Stressful mealtimes mean eating quick and getting away fast.

4.               Make water your family’s drink of choice.
Consider limiting soda pop to dinner time, just once a day. Ration flavored drinks. Instead, allow each child to have a water bottle and encourage them to fill it as often as they like.
If your tap water isn’t particularly enjoyable for drinking, consider purchasing bottled water or even filtered water by the jug. You can keep a jug in the refrigerator at all times for a refreshing beverage.

5.               Don’t use food for rewards or sanctions.
It can be tempting to turn dessert into a reward for good behavior. Instead, consider other means of convincing children to do what you want.
Sending a child to bed without dinner can cause all sorts of food anxiety. Giving children candy as a reward can reinforce the idea that some foods – especially those sugary foods that are really bad for them – are of greater value than other foods.
Take food out of the equation when it comes to trying to modify your children’s behavior.
Being a parent can be challenging. You need to lead by example. Getting your kids to view food in a healthy way and practice healthy eating habits starts there. You need to be willing to make good food choices yourself, and then share those choices with your children.
It’s not always easy, but the methods above can help you get well on your way to a family with healthy food attitudes, without too much pain. Author Bio

Dorothy Wheaton, PA-C, is the lead clinical provider for Careworks Convenient Healthcare, a US company operating health clinics and urgent care centers in the Northeast United States.

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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1 comment:

TSI said...

All great tips. My daughter follows most of these with her children.
They will actually ask to have some bell pepper, carrots, cucumbers or, their favorite, cheese sticks.