Written by: Elizabeth La H
As a parent we are responsible for teaching our children skills that will help them to grow and eventually go out on their own and make decisions by themselves. We teach our children to share with others, speak kindly and respectfully to adults and the difference between right and wrong morally. We also teach our children to add and subtract, spell words, read books and more. Parents are also responsible for teaching their children why and how to eat healthy for a lifetime.
In order to be a healthy eater you need to be well educated on what healthy eating looks like and why it is so important. Education on a healthy diet and food is not only learning about calorie intake and how to calculate grams of fat or how to read a nutritional label. Healthy eating also includes knowledge of the importance of a well balanced diet and why you should only eat certain foods and drink in moderation.
Unfortunately because of our fast track lifestyles fast food is often times a big part of modern day life. The cheapest and easiest foods are usually those that are also high in fat, calories, and additives that are not part of a well balanced diet. Most children if given the choice between a healthy snack or meal and “junk” food are more often than not going to choose the latter.
Below are some tips and tricks for encouraging your kids to eat those fruits, vegetables and grains that are so vital to a well balanced diet. Try as best as you can to educate your children along the way as to why these healthy food choices are so important and how easy it can be to make the healthy choices.
- Sneak the healthy food in. Add spinach as a topping to their pizza, or offer them muffins for breakfast made from bananas or apples. Be creative with your recipes and substitute some basic ingredients for pureed fruits and vegetables.
- Add ingredients to vegetables and fruits. Sometimes raw vegetables and fruits need a little extra to taste better and more satisfying. Add ranch dip to a serving of broccoli and carrots. Or add peanut butter and raisins to celery sticks for an afternoon snack. For breakfast you can add fresh cut fruit to yogurt or cereal.
- Plan Ahead. It pays off both health wise and financially to plan ahead when it comes to snacks and eating out while on the run. Keep a nice stock of healthy, non-perishable snacks in your car so that in case the kids get hungry or you make an extra stop while running errands there is something healthy and convenient to eat. If you plan to be gone for the day pack lunches and drinks in a cooler and bring it with you, when the time comes you can stop and break for a healthy lunch. Eating healthy on the go is easy to do if you just take some extra time to plan ahead.
- Substitute when it comes to the sweet tooth. Curb sweet tooth cravings with low fat and sugar free treats such as pudding, jello, ginger snaps, angel food cake, and frozen yogurt. Eating fruit when craving something sweet is a great way to make sure you and your family are eating the recommended daily amount of 2 cups per day. Add variety to keep things new, such as frozen, canned, fresh and dried fruits. Drinking fruit juice is also an option but be sure to use moderation when doing so due to the excess sugar found in most fruit juices.
- Grocery shop alone. Doing your shopping on your own is the easiest way to shop, as children and sometimes spouses are usually the ones requesting the junk food. Shopping alone will prevent this, and ensure that you only buy the foods you need. Another suggestion for when you go grocery shopping is to plan a weekly menu of meals and healthy snacks, list the ingredients and foods you will need for that week and buy just those items. This will not only help you to stock your home with healthy food but will also save you dollars at the register.
Being a role model to your children is vital when it comes to eating healthy and making smart choices when it comes to taking care of our bodies. It may not always be an easy task getting kids to eat what they should but in time it will become a way of life for them and they will recognize that the healthier they eat, the better they feel. Be patient and at times a little creative with your children and you can be rest assured that you have done your best to help your child(ren) develop a love of healthy foods for the rest of their lives.
About the Author:
Elizabeth La Ha is a self-employed blogger and author. Her educational and professional background is in Psychology, Sociology and Education. Elizabeth is also a weight loss and fitness enthusiast. When she’s not taking care of of her two beautiful babies she enjoys blogging about her journey towards “total body empowerment.”