No parent is perfect and when we are pressed for time, a trip to a fast food restaurant may have to take the place of a well-balanced meal. Unfortunately, if this habit were to continue it could wreak havoc on your family’s health and well being.
It is important that parents lead by example. Studies have shown that if parents eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, children will also learn to eat more fruits and vegetables. It is also important not to nag your children, but to set a good example and allow more healthy choices.
Not every kid will like every kind of produce, so let them experiment until they come across something approve of. The rule in my house is, “You don’t have to eat it, but I want you to at least try it, or how will you know if you like it?” If my kids taste it, and still don’t like it, so be it. Your kids’ tastes will change, as they get older so try reintroducing the same vegetables in the future especially the healthier ones.
Another important thing that you can do to improve your children’s nutrition is to start off with a good breakfast. Studies have shown that children who eat a proper breakfast consume more calories throughout the day but are less likely to develop a weight problem than those who skip breakfast. A healthy breakfast also improves test scores, concentration, memory and energy levels. If you are pressed for time, try ready to eat whole grain cereals and add their favourite fruit or berries. Or try a slice of whole grain bread with peanut butter or other nut butters and an all fruit jam or jelly. Throw in a glass of milk and they are good to go. You can also make high fiber fruit muffins with a little protein powder added and you have a nutritious meal they can eat on the run.
Here are more suggestions to help give your child a chance for a brighter nutritional future:
- Get the family involved- Involving your children in preparing the family meals will not only give you some needed help but it will also teach your child how to cook and prepare healthy meals and maintain a healthy diet as they grow into adulthood.
- Better food in schools- If your child’s school does not provide nutritional meals and snacks, get involved. Try to work with the school to improve the snack choices available. Get them to substitute unsweetened juice and milk for sodas and other sweetened beverages. High fiber granola bars and fruit for the regular candy and chips. Children will eat these healthy snacks if they are available and the other unhealthy choices are no longer an option.
- Eat dinner as family- recent studies have shown that sharing dinner together as a family has a huge impact on children’s nutrition. Children, especially teens, who ate dinner with the family on a regular basis had better overall nutrition
- Provide healthy snacks- By having cut up veggies and a dip or yogurt and fruit or other healthy alternatives available, you can prevent them from eating something that may not be nutritionally sound, such as chips or cookies or other sugary snacks.
Good nutritional habits need to start in childhood. Any step you can take to improve the nutrition of your children is a step in the right direction. By instilling good nutritional habits into your child you are not only ensuring a happy healthy childhood, you are also ensuring a healthy positive future for your child well into adulthood. Teach your children well!!!
“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” —Adele Davis