Being a Role Model
Have you ever thought about how your daily habits influence your children? When it comes to eating, it is important that you are providing your children with a lot of variety and balance. This should mirror what you are consuming at meals as well.
If your child is a picky eater, underweight or overweight, you have to remember to always add variety and never allow your child to go on a “diet.”
Do not force your children to eat certain foods, but make sure to introduce new foods at meals and snacks. Start with small, easy changes, such as offering more fruits and vegetables. As you introduce new foods at meals and snacks, have a food they like as well.
Since many children, and adults, are not consuming enough whole fruits and vegetables, this is one of the simplest additions to have with any meal and snack. The minimum servings of fruit a day is two and the minimum servings of vegetables a day is three. This is where the “Strive for 5” and the “5-a-Day” slogan comes from.
Do not be upset if your child does not like the new food the first time it was introduced. It may take as many as fifteen times, or more, before your child will try a new food.
If your child does not eat the food, it is important to keep serving it so that they can see other family members enjoying it. Do not single your child out by only giving them a particular food to try. Healthy foods work for everyone in the house.
Do not allow your child to think that meals are going to be planned only around their food preferences. Remember, you are in charge of deciding which foods are served at meals and snacks.
In order to make healthy snacks and meals, you have to have healthier food options available.
If you have a chronic health disease, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, and you feel it requires a “special diet,” remember that healthy eating could be your most valuable tool. Healthy eating will also help your children at an earlier age to eat better for their health.
Healthy tips that may help you and your family:
Planning ahead saves money & time. Adding healthy side dishes, such as bagged salad, frozen vegetables, and potatoes you can put in to microwave, are great. If you don’t have a lean source of protein ready to cook, you can buy a rotisserie chicken and use most of the white meat, without the skin. This is a quick addition, to a healthy meal. Planning the grocery list around you and your families schedule, will help you throughout the week.
Keep fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables readily available. Frozen vegetables should not contain added cheese sauce or a “secret sauce.” Frozen fruit should not contain added sugar. Make sure to always keep some fresh fruit in a bowl, where the family can have access to it.
Low fat/fat free yogurt, without fruit on the bottom, can be a healthy snack or an addition to a meal. If a smoothie is craved, you can add some frozen fruit that you have on hand and a splash of 1% (or less) milk.
Eating together, as a family, makes it easier for everyone to enjoy the meal that was prepared together. It also can bring you closer as a family.
- Fun Food Apps to Encourage Healthy Eating
- Health & Nutrition Apps for Family Fun
- Staying Healthy Where And What Should We Eat?
- Healthy Eating Options for Fueling Your Child
- Health and Wellness
This post originally appeared on our November/December 2010 Magazine