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Getting Kids to Eat Healthy

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 10-10-2008

Fast food restaurants, computers and television, and our busy schedules are constant reminders of how quickly life moves these days. This is precisely why we need to slow down and make time for lessons about healthy eating so that children can learn the value of nutrition at a young age.

Finding an equilibrium

If you need a reference point for how to start planning your day from a nutritional perspective, check out the Food Guide Pyramid. This will provide you with a well-rounded view of what to eat and how much from each of the food groups. Eating fruits and vegetables guarantees that your children are consuming the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that they need. Limiting sugars and fats keeps cholesterol and weight down, and the heart healthy.

Kick it off with breakfast

Starting the day with a healthy breakfast means that kids are fueling their internal fires to keep them active. Your child will be alert, engaged, and better able to fight off potential sickness. You want your children to learn good habits from you so make sure that you eat a balanced breakfast as well.

Avoiding stress in the home

Learning to manage stress from a young age leads to a lifetime of positive physical and mental health attributes. If your home is filled with fighting then that will affect your parenting style and your children’s self-esteem. This can negatively impact their digestive systems and their food choices in the form of binge eating to assuage guilty feelings. To develop a solid family structure with open communication, strive to eliminate persistent criticism and other disputes.

Employing common sense

Teaching your children about how to eat well for life requires common sense. For instance, if you deem certain foods to be off limits then they will be more appealing to your children. Instead of forbidding these foods completely, consider allowing your children to have them in moderation while constantly encouraging other healthier, tasty alternatives.

Family mealtime

The prime opportunity for you to lead by example is by eating together as a family. Not only can you teach your children proper table manners but also you can demonstrate your positive attitude towards food. This also shows children that preparing food at home is the ideal way to bring the family together and to eat food that has been cooked in a controlled environment using healthy ingredients.

Picky eaters

Despite your best efforts to pave the way, you may find that your children still exhibit picky eating habits. Here are tips for tackling this problem:

•    Make the effort to diversify the menu at home. This will, in turn, encourage your children to be more adventurous with their eating.

•    Be patient but persistent. Continue to offer the food to your children but within reason. Don’t expect them to lick their plates clean as children’s appetites are different than adults.

•    Don’t use family meals as opportunities to argue about what your child is or is not eating. Make the family, not the food, the focus of the meal.

•    Ask your children to help you choose and cook the meal so they are more likely to enjoy it.

•    If you think your child is lacking important nutrients because of their restricted eating then consult your pediatrician about taking supplements.

Balance and moderation are essential to ensure proper digestion. Pair healthy eating habits with regular exercise and your young ones will be well on their way to achieving a healthy lifestyle.