It’s no surprise that parents may need some help in understanding what healthy eating means. The good news is, you don’t need a nutrition degree to raise healthy children. Following a few simple tips for parents will help inspire your children to eat well and maintain a healthy weight.
Here are 10 main laws to live according to:
1. Delivery lines are controlled by parents.
You decide which foods to purchase and when to serve. While children will force their parents for less healthy foods, adults will be responsible for determining which foods are stored regularly in the house. Children aren’t going hungry. They are going to eat what’s available at home in the cupboard and the fridge. If their favourite snack isn’t all that nutritious, then once in a while you can still buy it so they don’t feel deprived.
2. Children can choose what they will eat from the foods you offer, or whether they should eat at all.
Children need to have some say on the subject. Schedule meal and snack times regularly. Let them choose what to eat from the selections you offer, and how much of it they want. That might sound like a little too much freedom. But if you obey step 1, your children can only choose between the foods you buy and serve
3. Withdraw from the “clean plate club”.
” Let children stop eating when they believe they have enough. Many parents grow up under the clean-plate law, but when they feel complete that strategy doesn’t help children listen to their own bodies. When children notice and respond to feelings of plenitude, they are less likely to over-eat.
4. Begin young.
Food preferences develop early in life so variety is available. Likes and dislikes start to develop even when children are infants. You may need to prepare a new meal for a child to consider it a few different times. Do not force a child to eat but give a couple of pieces. Ask older children to try one piece.
5. Rewrite the menu for kids.
What says children only want hot dogs, pizza, burgers, and macaroni and cheese? Let your children try new foods while dining out, and can impress you with their willingness to experiment. You can start by letting them try anything you have ordered or ordering an appetizer to try it out.
6. Calories count for drinks.
Soda and other sweetened beverages add extra calories and hamper healthy eating. For children, water and milk are the best beverages. The juice is great when it’s 100%, but children don’t need a lot of it — 4 to 6 ounces a day is enough for pre-school students.
7. Instead, put sweets.
Occasional sweets are ok but don’t make dessert the main reason to eat dinner. Children naturally place more value on the cupcake than the broccoli when dessert is the price to eat dinner. Try to stay grocery neutral.
8. Food is not charity.
Consider better ways to say “I love you.” We can start using food to cope with stress or other feelings when used to reward children and display affection. Instead of food treats, offer hugs, praise and attention.
9. Children do the same.
Be a role model, and feed yourself well. Try to set the best example you can when trying to teach good eating habits. Select snacks, feed at the table and don’t miss meals. This is one of the best tips for parents.
10. Restrict screen and TV time.
When you do, you’ll avoid snacking and encourage more activity. Research has shown that children who cut back on television watching also lowered their body fat percentage. When the time for TV and computer is limited they will find more active things to do. So reducing the “screen time” ensures that you will have more time together to be involved.
I hope you keep in mind and follow these tips for parents.
Recommended readings: 9 Life Skills to Teach Your Child Before They Turn 10