You know the right foods to give your child, but busy schedules sometimes succumb to fast food and readymade conveniences. It’s not always easy to encourage your children to eat a balanced diet. Try these easy ideas for healthy eating and find out why it’s worth taking the time.
1) DO NOT SKIP BREAKFAST:
Skipping breakfast can make kids feel tired, restless, or irritable. In the morning, their bodies need to refuel for the day ahead after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep. Their mood and energy can drop by midmorning if they don’t eat at least a small morning meal. It’s important for kids to have breakfast every day, but what they eat in the morning is crucial too. Choosing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein while low in added sugar may boost kids’ attention span, concentration, and memory which they need to learn in school. If we can get your kids to establish the habit of eating a good breakfast at a young age, it should stay with them as they get older.
2) CHOOSE HEALTHIER SNACKS
While meals make up the majority of a child’s nutritional intake, most children eat at least one snack per day. While many of the most commonly offered kids’ snacks tend to be of lower nutritional value than meals, snacks still can support or even enhance your child’s overall healthy eating plan. It is easy to reach for chips or biscuits when children feel like nibbling on something, but these snacks tend to be low in nutrients and high in calories.
Instead, try to keep your cupboards stocked with healthier snacks such as fruit, air-popped popcorn, unsalted nuts and unsweetened yoghurt.
3) DRINK WATER
Make water the drink of choice at meal times, and keep juice and sweet drinks as occasional treats.
While juice gives a concentrated energy boost for active, growing bodies, kids should go for water first when they are thirsty, not sugar-sweetened drinks.
4) EAT TOGETHER
It’s tempting to eat dinner in front of the television, to wolf down lunch at your desk, and to grab snacks on the run. If you can encourage your children to eat regular meals with you at the table, it can not only reduce snacking, it can also teach valuable social skills.
5) SLOW IT DOWN
Eating slowly is great for weight control at any age. It’s a fantastic way to show kids that it takes about 20 minutes for the message that they are full to get from their stomachs to their brains.
As much as we would love our children to finish their meal in minutes, rather than hours, it’s much more important that they learn to slow down and chew their food properly.
6) BE CREATIVE
All the vibrant colours in fruit and vegetables come from natural plant chemicals that have healthy effects on our bodies. Different colours have different effects, so it’s good to eat a variety of different colours each day.
Offer your kids a colourful snack of different fruits and berries, or chop vegetables into interesting shapes so kids will get more fun and excitement.