Healthy eating habits start young, so it’s important you begin teaching your children healthy eating habits now. As a parent, you don’t want to overwhelm your children with a long list of eating rules and nutritional guidelines. So, below I outline just four essential eating habits to get you started.
Eat as a family - In today’s fast-paced world, it is common to scarf down meals on the go. On-the-go meals are often unhealthy and associated with stress. This disastrous combination leads to weight gain and diet-related health issues. Furthermore, a study conducted by the journal Pediatrics found that children who eat with their family are more likely to eat healthy foods, and less likely to be overweight than children who do not eat with their family. When families eat together, they tend to be more nutritionally aware of the food they eat, eat slower than on-the-go, and learn to enjoy food.
Drink enough water - This is one we hear often. For growing and active children, it is extremely important for them to drink enough water to support their bodies. With this said, it is still okay to give your children other drinks, but first, make sure they are drinking enough water. For example, tell your children they can drink their favorite juice with lunch if they drink x amount of water beforehand. Better yet, try mixing water with their juice. Do the same with dinner. At snack time, provide only water. Further, anytime your children come back from playing outside, hand them a cup of water to encourage them to stay hydrated.
Eat healthy snacks - When it comes to snack time, if you give your children a cookie or bag of chips, you’re teaching them poor eating habits. The sugar and extra calories in junk food add up and can eventually lead to weight gain and health issues such as high cholesterol and diabetes. Instead of giving your children junk food at snack time, provide healthy treats such as vegetables and fruits. If they don’t want it, then they don’t have to eat it, but don’t provide any alternatives. Your children will eat the snacks you provide if they’re genuinely hungry.
Pay attention to the food groups - Providing nutritionally balanced foods is essential for your growing children. Everyday Health outlines the amount of the various nutrients, minerals, and vitamins children need on a daily basis. For example, did you know that 30% of your children’s diet should come from fats, 12% from protein, and 50 - 60% from carbohydrates? In addition to this, children also need a daily dose of calcium, vitamin D, fiber, and iron to be healthy. Teach your children how to have a balanced diet by providing enough of the right foods at each meal and as added insurance, provide a 100% food-derived organic multivitamin and mineral supplement.
I say it again: healthy eating habits start young. Begin teaching your children to eat healthy by focusing on the four essential habits outlined above.
Alli, Renee. Healthy Eating Habits for Your Child. WebMD Medical Reference. July 2016. http://www.webmd.com/children/kids-healthy-eating-habits#
Lowenstein, Kate. Essential Nutrition for Kids. Everyday Health. February 2009. https://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-nutrition/essential-nutrition.aspx
TWD Team. 4 Essential Eating Habits for Families. Total Wellbeing Diet. March 2015. https://www.totalwellbeingdiet.com/blog/4-essential-eating-habits-for-families/