It can be hard to teach your kids good eating habits when we may not be demonstrating them ourselves. There are so many excuses including not having enough time or having a picky eater. Getting kids to eat healthy can be complicated but it is necessary for the health and well-being of your child. Children today often skip breakfast, eat more foods prepared outside the home, and consume a lot of soda and other sugary drinks. Help stop unhealthy eating habits today by incorporating these tips now to help your kids (and you) learn healthier eating habits for life.
- Do not skip breakfast!
Start the day with a healthy breakfast! It refuels your body and gives you energy for the day and studies show that kids who eat breakfast do better in school than non-breakfast eaters. Some quick breakfasts include: cereal with low-fat milk, fruit and toast, or yogurt with fruit.
- Eat five fruits and veggies each day
Try to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, aim for a total of 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables. Here are some ways to incorporate the five servings of fruits and veggies into your day: a glass of fruit juice at breakfast, two servings of fruit for snacks, and two vegetables at meal times.
- Eat a variety of food
You need over 40 vitamins and minerals every day for good health. Since no single food contains them all make sure you get the right balance by eating a wide variety of healthy foods.
- Have regular family meals
Family meals are a comforting ritual; children like the predictability of family meals while parents like the chance to catch up with their kids. Kids who take part in regular family meals are also more likely to eat healthier and consume more fruits, vegetables, and grains.
- Cook more meals at home
Eating home cooked meals is healthier for the whole family. Restaurants tend to cook with more fat, sugar, and salt and serve much larger portions that you would serve at home.
- Involve the kids
Children enjoy selecting what goes in their lunch box and helping prepare meals. They are also more likely to eat the foods in their lunch they helped choose and eat the healthy meal they helped prepare.
- Buy healthy foods
Kids will eat what’s available. Make it easy for them to choose healthy snacks by keeping fruits and vegetables on hand and ready to eat. Leave high-fat, salty, and sugary snacks off your grocery list.
- Be a role model
Teach your kids to make healthy eating choices when snacking and eating out. Children imitate their parents, so set a good example by eating healthy foods.
- Teach portion control
Teach your kids what a reasonable portion size is. Serve food in smaller portions and let your child ask for more if he or she is still hungry.
Try to eat at least three ounces of whole grains every day including: whole grain cereal, brown rice, whole grain crackers, and whole wheat pastas.