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.