• Parents & Kids

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Teaching & Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits Among Children

We have become increasingly reliant on ready-made meals and snacks to feed our kids, many of which are low in essential nutrients and high in saturated fats, sugar, salt and additives. Such a diet, linked to soaring rates of childhood obesity and other diseases, is not a healthy one for a growing child. Parents can reverse this trend by teaching and encouraging healthy eating and lifestyle habits among children.

 

You Can Make a Big Difference!

As a parent or primary caregiver, you have a lot of influence on your child. He or she will follow your example, so it’s important for you to be a good role model when it comes to making healthy choices. Even small changes in your family’s eating habits and physical activity can have a big impact on your child’s health.

The following are some ways you can help:

Offer healthy food options at home. Be sure you have healthy, appealing food options available for your family. Provide a variety of choices so your child can try different things. Be persistent in your efforts to introduce healthy food options. Children are not always open to new things right away. Specific ways to support good nutrition include the following:

  • Offer several fruit and vegetable options every day. At the store, let your child choose fruits and vegetables that he or she enjoys eating or wants to try.
  • Provide healthy sources of protein, such as eggs and nuts.
  • Serve whole-grain rotis, breads and cereals.
  • Broil, grill or steam foods instead of frying them.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of water or milk instead of sugar-added drinks such as sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened or flavored milk or sweetened iced tea.
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Healthy Recipes for Kids .

Limit fast food, takeout and junk food. Avoid fried snacks. Opt for baked chips, pretzels, or unbuttered popcorn instead. If you do eat out or get takeout, avoid fried foods and choose the healthiest options available. For example, choose fruit instead of French fries or grilled burger instead of a hamburger.

Read food labels. The Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods and drinks lists useful information, such as the serving size, and the amount of calories and nutrients per serving. When reading labels, keep in mind that the ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. If you’re reading a cereal label, it would be best for the first ingredient to be a grain, not added sugar (for example, fructose or high-fructose corn syrup).

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Be a good role model for your child

Be sure that you are making healthy food choices and incorporating physical activity into your life. Get the whole family involved in eating a healthier diet. You can practice good eating habits by doing the following:

  • Make breakfast part of the morning routine. Breakfast is important to give your child the energy he or she needs to learn and be active.
  • Let your child determine how much to eat. Don’t push food or insist that your child “cleans the plate.”
  • Eat meals and snacks together as a family. Eat at the table, not in front of the TV.
  • Encourage your child to eat slowly and to stop eating when he or she starts to feel full.
  • Avoid using treats or junk food as rewards or comfort. This may make your child value those foods more than nutritious options.

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Creative Food Ideas

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Health benefits

Outdoor activities help kids stay fit and active which will benefit them in the long run. They can ward off health problems like obesity and heart ailments later in life. Some kids frequently fall ill; being active in life will help them stay healthy; they will feel hungry and have meals on time. Since they will feel tired by the end of the day, they will sleep on time too.

Makes them competitive

When kids play outside, they gain a sense of mastery and competency skills. They try climbing, running; throwing and they feel they can do it, which in turn builds up their confidence level. Even when they are playing any game and they win the game, it helps in developing the winning spirit. It’s a best way to boost their self-esteem as well.

Learning working in groups

When kids play with other kids, they learn to interact in groups, learn building strategy to win. They learn to adjust with kids of different temperament. This will help them when they grow up, in both their professional and personal life.

Learning social skills

Often when kids play, they have a lot of loud interactions and physical movements with other kids. At times they might not know the other kids they have to play with especially in schools, and that helps them develop social skills. They learn to be cordial and try and work well in groups often developing qualities like leadership and co-operation. They learn to interact with other children, often bonding over games and developing long lasting friendships.

Giving a sense of freedom

When kids play with other kids, they learn to interact in groups, learn building strategy to win. They learn to adjust with kids of different temperament. This will help them when they grow up, in both their professional and personal life.

Learning to appreciate nature

Parents should take their kids for treks and nature camps. They will understand nature and science better. This will help them relax and sooth all the five senses. You should teach them to respect nature. Try doing activities like gardening, planting trees, flower exhibition which help them to understand nature.

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Importance of Outdoor Activities For Children

In this age, where children are suffering from obesity, outdoor activities form an important part of their life. Outdoor activities have long term benefits on their health. Adequate outdoor activity increases health and physical development by improving sensory development, reducing obesity and stimulating blood cells.

Proper nutrition and regular physical activity are the keys to maintaining a healthy weight and preventing health problems. Encourage your child to find physical activities he or she enjoys and get active. Aim for at least 1 hour of active play every day. Limit your child’s time using a TV, computer, cell phone, or game station to no more than 1 to 2 hours a day. Set a good example by limiting your own screen time, too.

Physical activity should be part of your whole family’s lifestyle. Take a walk, go for a bike ride, or do chores together. Plan active family outings.

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