We as parents want our kids to be healthy.
When they are little it’s up to us to keep them healthy.
Later, they should know by themselves.
That’s why we need to introduce healthy habits to them, and encourage them to keep them.
But sometimes we are taught the wrong things.
And sometimes other people confuse us about what’s healthy.
And at other times, we get doubts if what we do is enough.
Luckily, it’s not that complicated. But knowing what to do is one thing. Doing it is often a different story.
Basically, a healthy life consists of four main points:
- Good nutrition and eating habits
- Enough sleep and stress reduction
- Being active and fit
- Regular medical check-ups, including necessary vaccines
Today, we want to focus on how to develop healthy eating habits.
1. How to keep basic rules in mind
It’s good to remember some basic rules and rituals about food. If you repeat these rituals daily they become a habit. And that’s what we want for our kids.
- Make sure your kids have breakfast. This will ‘jump start’ their metabolism.
- Have them drink plenty of water every day.
- Introduce them to a variety of foods and let them eat different foods every day.
- Make dinner time family fun time.
With preparing your kids breakfast and being part of dinner, you have control over two main meals of the day. Further, this should prevent them from snacking all day.
To get an idea of the portion size and calories for kids of different age groups, I would recommend the website of the American heart association – Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Children http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Dietary-Recommendations-for-Healthy-Children_UCM_303886_Article.jsp#.V-O2gyh97IU
2. How to introduce fruits and veggies
If we manage to develop in our kids the good habit of eating fresh fruits and veggies daily we have reached a milestone.
Introduce as many fruits and veggies as possible and let your kids choose the fruits and veggies they like. As an example, my son is not very picky when it comes to food. On the other hand, my daughter is very picky and it took me a while to find some fruits and veggies she likes and eats.
With fruits it’s easier. I just buy all the different yummy fruits and let everyone pick their fruit. It is good and healthy to eat fruits fresh and unprocessed anyway.
With the veggies, I go the extra mile. I prepare a mix of all the veggies we as a family like and an extra pot with what my daughter likes and serve two plates. We buy veggies fresh or frozen. Canned and processed food should be second choice.
3. How to be smart with chocolates, chips and Co
Yes, sugar tastes good. And yes, it is easy to get used to all the sweet things. It is also easy to get used to all the junkie salty food.
However, chocolates, popcorn and sweets should only be treats. Chips and other processed food that contains unhealthy trans fats should be avoided as much as possible. It helps to check labels for trans fats because they are really unhealthy.
Some parents manage to totally keep chocolates and chips out of their kid’s reach. It’s usually easy with babies and toddlers, but with older kids it gets harder to keep them away from it. Influences from outside the family get stronger too.
With my son, I have lots of discussions about eating chips. The idea that chips have trans fats that are bad for him is still too abstract for him. All he knows is that he loves the taste of chips and that he doesn’t mind fatty hands. So, it’s up to me to restrict the amounts of chips he eats. But I keep explaining – until it finally strikes a note.
4. How to go easy on fuzzy drinks and fast foods
Fuzzy drinks have too much sugar and too many so called empty calories. These calories will lead to weight gain and nothing else. They have no nutritional benefit at all. In addition, fuzzy drinks have artificial substances that are unhealthy.
However, fuzzy drinks are popular. So, once the kids get older it’s hard to keep them away from unhealthy drinks. So, the best way to go is to restrict the amount of unhealthy drinks they consume. Maybe you can allow them only outside the house or at special days.
Fast food should not be a regular either. Try to restrict fast food to once a month or whatever fits the family life style. There are usually nutrition boards in bigger fast food outlets. Give it a minute and try to find the healthy bits. Maybe a combination of some unhealthy food with some healthy food choices is an option.
We all want healthy kids.
But sometimes we are confused what to do.
It gets easier when you know the right strategies.
Developing healthy eating habits is important in maintaining your kid’s health.
Developed healthy eating habits are the best long term health guidance we can aim for.
Are you ready? Are there healthy eating ideas that you are using and are working for you and your family?
About the Author
Ilka Emig is a passionate self-development writer, lovable scientist and mother of two funny, constantly question asking and knowledge craving kids. She is on a mission to motivate parents to relax and enjoy their kids. Ilka Emig is a contributor to KachyTV Blog and writes at http://simplyilka.com/