September is National Childhood Obesity Month. Wow. We actually have to designate an entire month to that? This is definitely a problem in society, something needs to be done, and it starts with you as a parent or guardian.
Good nutrition starts with the parents. Good nutrition starts at the beginning of life. Healthy eating habits need to be established early and they need to be consistent.
Healthy Eating Tips for Kids:
Set a Good Example- Kids learn their habits, values, morals, and beliefs from their parents. If you establish a healthy eating regimen, your children will more likely follow suit.
Don’t Reward with Sweets (or punish by taking them away) - Do not ever make food a reward or a punishment for your children. Nourishing our bodies is a life essential. It should never be associated with punishment or reward. You are asking for a problem if this is your practice.
Let Children Serve Themselves - Encourage kids to only take small servings of each item for meals. Make sure that they know seconds are always available if they are still hungry after finishing what they have taken.
Don’t Restrict Foods – This will only serve as a temptation. Let kids have the foods they want, just instill in them the wisdom to eat a moderate serving of the foods that are higher in caloric or fat values.
Eat Meals as a Family at the Dinner Table – Turn off the TV and computer. Have a family dinner and share your day with each other. This not only encourages good eating habits, it can also improve family bonds.
Never Give Your Child the Choice of Meal Items – Unless you want to become a short order cook, present your children with what you have prepared for a meal. Never give them the choice to have something other than what the rest of the family is having. If you keep your children’s likes and dislikes in mind while planning meals, you shouldn’t have a problem satisfying your picky eater.
Pack Lunches for School – Send a good, healthy lunch to school with your child. Be sure to include a small treat for dessert. Communicate with cafeteria staff and teachers that you would prefer your child not to purchase food at school.
Cook with Your Children – Get creative! Let your kids come up with their own recipes. Have them help to plan meals and go to the market with you. Make it fun. Use food coloring, shapes, and help them to create their own concoctions! Be careful with the creations, though. You may end up committing to eating all sorts of things!
A healthy attitude towards food and eating early in life can help your children more than you can possibly imagine.