We teach our kids right from wrong to prepare them to live as law-abiding citizens in the world. Why not do the same for your kids in the eating department? Unhealthy habits can be passed on and our kids will not know how to protect their health.
Keep reading for some fundamental building blocks of great nutrition.
One of the most important functions of a family is family meals. It is here at the dinner table that habits are made and bad habits broken. Statistics show that kids who eat meals with their families are less likely to drink, smoke and do drugs. They are also more likely to copy the types of eating habits they see.
This is a parent’s opportunity to showcase what they know about healthy eating. If your knowledge is lacking, we can help you with that too. Begin with the food pyramid. There is one for kids that details what their nutritional requirements are. Both kids and adults need at least five a day of vegetables and fruits.
Kids will be more likely to try new foods at the dinner table when everyone else is eating them too. This gives parents the opportunity to revamp the kitchen with healthy foods and condiments. No matter what they reach for it will be good for them.
Besides sitting down for a family meal, there is the preparation for dinner. Let the kids get involved. They will see what it takes to make a meal and how great it is to cook with healthier foods. When they snack, it will be on vegetables, nuts and other good things you are putting in the dish.
Another novel idea is to give the kids their own night to fix dinner. Help them to create their menu and give them a hand if they need it. Not just learning by your side, they get to decide what foods they like to eat and learn about nutrition first hand.
Sugar is the enemy when it is eaten in large quantities. Teach your kids about sweetness by offering snacks that contain natural sugars: fruits and vegetables (carrots, beets). Adding sweet, but low calorie sweeteners to foods is also an alternative to sugar: syrup in oatmeal, honey in tea, and applesauce in muffin mixes. There will be times that you use cane sugar but it won’t be all the time.
Kids are big drinkers. If they want an alternative to water, try flavor packets for water or adding a bit of club soda to their fruit juice for a fizzy soda-like taste without the sugar and calories.
Giving your kids a good nutritional foundation is far-reaching. They will build on that foundation throughout their life and pass on what they learn to their children.