Developing healthy eating habits in children begins in early childhood. By exhibiting healthy eating habits, parent teach their children which foods are necessary for normal growth and development. Knowing which nutrients are necessary and what amount should be served as your child grows helps them maintain a healthy weight.
Due to the fact, that in most households, both parents work, managing, time and schedules take priority over providing healthy foods and snacks, but do not make time to plan meals in advance. When grocery shopping, they seek out processed foods which can be prepared in a microwave or heated quickly on the stove top. They declare they do not have time to read labels or seek foods low in sodium or fats. They simply look for foods that are quick and easy to prepare. For snacks, they tend to grab chips, cookies, and candy instead of fresh fruits.
Often when picking up children from preschool or school, parents develop the habit of purchasing “fat foods” which can be loaded with fats, sugar, and sodium. This can lead to obesity in children and adults.
In today’s fast-paced society, educating young parents about nutrients and which foods supply them will guide them to making better choices. Secondly simple recipes and ways to make food more visually appealing when served is a big help. Also, simple charts with guidelines for calorie intake and serving portions for each age group gives the parents an insight to good nutrition.
Children love to help shop for groceries, they can be a big help with a little guidance from an adult. Set some rules before entering a store such as no begging or saying “I want, I want, I want.” Good behavior is rewarded with a healthy snack such as picking out their own piece of fresh fruit.
You will be surprised at what good helpers children can be when preparing a meal. Take a moment to think of appropriate jobs considering their age. Setting the table, putting butter or condiments on the table, folding napkins, or stirring up biscuit or cornbread mix makes them feel special and proud of their accomplishments. Children that help in the preparation of a meal will be more apt to try the healthy foods they helped prepare.
Finally, planning snacks at a specific time during the day keeps the child from spoiling their appetites for meal times. Try to keep nutritious snacks around the house instead of chips or cookies. With these simply guidelines, we should be able to keep our children on the path of healthy eating.