Healthy eating habits are formed at a very young age. What you feed your children when they are young, will impact their health and food decisions for the rest of their lives. Here are some easy ways to help implement healthy eating habits in your children while they are
1) Have regular family meals at the table. Turn off the TV, turn off the radio, shut down the cell phone and the computer and interact with your family. Try to avoid ‘meals on the run’ eating in the car or stroller, as these fast easy meals are usually not the best choices.
2) Keep a variety of healthy food options in your home at all times. If between
meals, your child is hungry, offer them a small healthy snack, they will be more
likely to eat it when they are very hungry. An example of healthy snacks could
be a small box of raisons, a few apple slices, bluebarries, some watermelon,
red/green pepper slices, or some broccoli florets.
3) Be a role model. Children as young as the age of 2, will copy and imitate what they adults around them are doing. If you are making healthy food choices, your children will follow suit.
4) Avoid food battles and rewards. Try to let your child have as much say as
possible during meal times. The more they are able to choose, the larger the
chance is that they are going to eat what they chose. Remember to NEVER bribe or reward your children for eating or making healthy choices. This is something that will follow them into adult hood forming some bad habits. (such as dessert after EVERY meal!)
5) Get your children involved. Children love to feel needed. Take your child to the grocery store, tell them that you need them to help you get the fruits and vegetables for supper that night. Your child will be excited to go with you and choose healthy foods, and again because they chose them, chances are, they will eat them! Allow your child to help you with the meal preparations and the cooking of the meals. I still remember helping my Dad prepare supper, peeling carrots, chopping fresh rhubarb, shelling the peas, peeling and slicing the potatoes, and so much more. Very fond memories. I think that is why I love to cook so much.
This is an example of a lunch the children at my daycare love, The Mish Mash lunch. They all get to choose something to go into the lunch and at the end, I never have any left over’s! Today’s Mish Mash lunch consisted of hard boiled eggs, ham and chicken deli slices, raw carrots, broccoli, red peppers, 1 slice of marble cheese, and a slice of whole wheat toast. Delicious!
What are your children’s favourite healthy foods?
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Selina Whiting is a certified personal trainer through ISSA.