Details for Health & Fitness - September 2017

Fostering HealtHy
eating Habits in
CHildren

If kids had their way, pizza, chicken fingers and french
fries would make up a significant portion of their diets.
But parents know they must make kids’ culinary choices
for them so youngsters get all of the vitamins and
nutrients they need to grow up strong and healthy.
Parents also tend to know how difficult it can be to
convince kids to embrace healthy eating. Healthy eating
habits can help kids live healthier lives and perform
better in the classroom while setting them up for a
lifetime of making the right choices at mealtime. Though
encouraging kids to eat healthy may not always be easy,
the following are a few tips for parents hoping to foster
healthy eating habits in their children.
• Stick to a schedule. Parents should establish a regular

Swapping traditional and often less healthy
eating schedule, for both meals and snacks, so kids learn
snacks and desserts for fresh fruits is one
way to foster healthy eating habits in children. the importance of not skipping meals. Kids who learn to

eat at regular intervals are more likely to continue doing
so as they grow older. When kids stick to a meal schedule, they are less likely to overeat and they’re
likely to have more energy throughout the day, which should help them stay attentive at school and
be more engaged in their extracurricular activities.

• Involve kids when choosing the menu. Kids might be more excited about eating healthy when you
involve them in choosing the menu. Invite them along on trips to the grocery store and allow them
to choose one of their favorite foods for the meal in exchange for eating the healthy fare you have
chosen. Parents may end up eating a lot of side dishes of macaroni and cheese, but their youngsters
will also end up eating their vegetables.
• Plan healthy desserts. Dessert is often considered an unhealthy indulgence, but there’s plenty of
nutritious desserts that are so delicious kids likely will not realize they’re eating healthy. A dessert of
fresh fruit and a small serving of yogurt can provide the same post-meal refreshment as ice cream
or cake, but it does so with much fewer calories and a lot more nutrients and vitamins. What’s more,
kids will come to look at dessert as a chance to eat fresh fruits instead of an opportunity to load up
on ice cream or other, less healthy alternatives.
• Serve healthy portions. Sometimes it’s not just what is on the plate but how much is on the plate that
can be healthy or unhealthy. When doling out portions for the family, create healthy portions so kids
are not encouraged to overeat. Kids who grow up eating healthy portions are more likely to continue
doing so into adulthood. Overeating is one of the culprits behind being overweight and obese, so kids
who learn to control their portions are much less likely to overeat and gain excess weight.
• Don’t reward kids with food. Some parents try to reward youngsters with food, allowing kids to

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indulge in unhealthy fare in acknowledgement of a good report card or something else kids should
be proud of. But using food as a reward is an unhealthy eating habit that can lead to problems down
the road as kids become adults responsible for their own eating habits.
• Set a positive example. Kids are more likely to eat healthy when mom and dad are healthy eaters.
If your first choice at snack time is to reach for a bag of potato chips, then don’t be surprised when
your kids opt for chips over healthier fare like a piece of fruit. “Do as I say, not as I do” is a tough
sell to youngsters when it comes to their eating habits, so parents should set a positive example for
their kids by ensuring their own diets are healthy. LS138400

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