Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy
Helping children develop healthy
eating habits is a struggle for many parents. The
vast majority of children don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. Many
parents count juice as fruit, but juice consumption is much
less nutritious, don't have needed fibre and excess juice consumption
has been associated with obesity in some children. Fruits and
contribute key vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, to a child's
diet and are vital in preventing many chronic diseases later in life.
With the hectic pace of many families'
lives and with more women working full time, even health-conscious
parents are finding it easy to tolerate less than desirable eating
habits. Heart and blood
vessel disease can begin very early and hardening of the arteries
(arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis) can be associated with a high-fat
diet and not enough vitamins and fibre in the diet.
Parents need to guide their children and
help them to develop
healthy eating habits. Great number of parents don't want to struggle
with the food issues so they
give up, letting kids make their own choices. As adults, we should know
children's judgment is less mature and they still
depend on parents or guardians to
Tips for parents
to get their kids to eat healthy:
- Getting your kids to eat healthy food can
be difficult. Serve healthy food choices with same enthusiasm as
dessert. Try to serve vegetables more often and present them in a
simple way. If you are serving cooked vegetables, don't overcook them.
- Ask your kids to help you with the
shopping and meal preparation. Try to make food shopping and
preparation interesting and fun activity for the whole family. Kids
like to help and have fun. Activity like that is also a
good way to get them more interested in what you're serving.
- Avoid convenience foods that are loaded
with fats, carbohydrates, and sugar. Always read nutrition labels
before you buy any new product and don't believe the hype until you've
read the fine
print on the nutritional label.
- Get your kids to drink more water and
take a stand against carbonated drinks and fruit juices. They are among
the biggest culprits behind childhood obesity and full of empty
- Start training your children about
healthy eating habits as soon as they
can talk since they are most influenced by their families during the
preschool years. Keep in mind that bad eating habits developed
while young can become toxic later in life.
- Because the childhood impulse to imitate
is strong, role modeling is a powerful tool. Always try to avoid
unhealthy diet in your household. The best move you
can make to start your child off on the right dietary foot is to fill
your plate with healthy food selections. Be a
powerful role model, so that when your child asks to taste what you're
eating, your plate is always filled with healthy food selections.
- Make sure your unhealthy food choices
will not override your good intentions. Avoid eating unhealthy food
when your children are around and avoid having unhealthy food in the
house. It's a lot easier to keep junk food out of the house than
saying no to your children.
- Encourage your child to taste a new food,
but don't get into a confrontation. Be patient, young children have a
natural dislike for new foods. After many repeated exposures, they will
likely try them.
- Always control portion sizes. Remember,
kids don't need adult-size
portions. Never overfeed your children, because if you do, they will
consistently seek out more than their body needs.
- Never offer any reward for eating food.
It is not a parent's job to force or act silly in order to get their
child to eat. In fact, research suggests using these tactics may
only make a child more resistant. Always respect true food dislikes.
- Create a positive mealtime environment.
Eat with your child and focus on good conversation rather than what
he/she is eating. A parent's job is to plan well balanced meals and
snacks and create a positive mealtime environment.
- Kids and adults eat more when TV is on
during meals or when they eat in front of the computer screen. Studies are showing
that this behavior is one of the biggest causes of overeating, because
viewers are too distracted to notice when they're full. Distraction
overrides our ability to know when to stop eating.
- Limit screen time for your family. Many
studies are showing that kids
spend an average 25 to 30 hours a week in front of a TV or computer.
Everyone knows what too much television or video games can do to the
mind and what too
little exercise can do to the body. Screen time also lead to an
increase in diseases related with obesity, circulation and digestion.
suggest cutting down
viewing time to maximum of 14 to 15 hours a week. Use the rest of the
time to do some family fun with plenty of physical activities.
- Avoid fast-food restaurants because they
well known fat
factories. Some family restaurants and table service establishments
with their big portions and food loaded with trans fats can be just as
bad. Look for healthy food restaurant or buffet-style restaurants where
you can decide on portion size and food choice.
- Fat is important building block for a
children's growth and essential for your child's mental and physical
development, so be
careful not to eliminate all the fat from child's diet. Instead,
replace bad fats with healthy monounsaturated
fats from foods like olives, nuts, avocados, etc.
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