Here are 6 ways to help your child start a life of positive habits.
Children’s health is built on good nutrition and healthy eating habits. These are benefits that last a lifetime. Healthy eating habits can be taught to children from an early age. This will ensure that they have a healthy relationship with food throughout their lives. These habits can be fun and healthy for both your child and your whole family. Here are six methods to get you started.
- Promote positive habits
Watch what you do with your little ones, even at mealtime. Being a role model can help you choose healthy snacks, drinks, and snacks, as well as engaging in physical activity. Your child will be able to set a good example by choosing healthy, whole foods for dinner.
Include your children in the food shopping and preparation process. You will all enjoy creating healthy and delicious meals for your family.
Mealtimes can be used as an opportunity to learn – compare the various food groups and find the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs.
- Keep a healthy relationship to food
Healthy eating habits are key to long-term health and protection against diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Your child can be guided by you:
It is important to help them recognize when they are actually hungry. This will allow them to be in tune with their bodies’ needs.
Avoid using food as punishment or reward. Children can develop unhealthy relationships with food if they are forced to eat.
You don’t have to forbid certain foods. You can make certain foods, such as sweets, more appealing to your child.
Limit the amount of unhealthy food and beverages and set expectations that you will only eat them occasionally (i.e. Not every day. Discuss with your children why some foods are better than others. If your child is craving something sweet, talk to them about why whole foods with natural sugars such as fruit are better than processed foods like sweet cereals with added sugar. You can reward good behavior with non-food rewards, such as an activity for the family.
- Don’t waste your time cleaning up!
This may seem like a good way to help your child eat healthy foods, but it can cause them to dislike food and have negative associations with meals. Try to get your child to eat vegetables if you are unable to. You can teach your child about food choices by encouraging them to eat. Try offering small portions of one fruit or vegetable along with another healthy food or inviting them to choose a new one. You can make fruits and vegetables look more appealing by arranging them in colorful and fun shapes. Remember that children may need to give up on trying new foods.
- Prioritize portion control
It is possible to gain weight by serving too much food. Visuals are a great way to help your child understand the importance of portion sizes. For example, a child should have a closed fist for pasta, rice, or cereal. Their meat portion should not exceed their palm. Butter and other fats should not exceed the thumb’s size.
- Get your day started with a healthy breakfast
Many families find mornings stressful. However, a healthy breakfast will help your child get the nutrients they need for growth and development. Instead of using sweetened pastries or cereals, choose nutrient-dense foods like plain yogurt and fresh fruit. These are high in calories and low on nutrients. Your child will also feel fuller longer.
- Make exercise fun
Children should get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. Join in on the fun! Plan family activities that get everyone moving, such as after-dinner walks and swimming. You can also be spontaneous if you see an opportunity. For example, dancing to a favorite song together. Encourage your child to spend less time on a screen and to be active.