Habits for LifeMarch 22, 2018
We all know that some habits are tough to break. See below for our tips on starting healthy eating habits at an early age!
- Prevent crankiness by feeding your children every 3 – 4 hours. Some children may need more than just breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If your child is one of them, make sure that between these 3 staple meals they are being nourished with healthy snacks. It’s always a good idea to have some extra pretzels, cheese, or fruit on you so that you don’t have to rely on unhealthy or fast options.
- Keep family dinners balanced. A good rule of thumb for planning dinners is to make sure they include a whole-grain, a fruit or a vegetable, and a protein. Soup or chili is a great way to ‘sneak’ all of these ingredients into one dish and you can freeze leftovers to be used for dinners in the future.
- Try to stick to cooking 1 meal. Instead of preparing a different meal for each member of your family, try serving dinner family-style. This way, everyone can pick and chose the foods they want on their plate. Plus, one of the best ways to promote healthy habits is for caregivers to model them for their kids. You’ll see, as you reach for that extra helping of broccoli, your little one just might follow your lead.
- Avoid making comments. Kids crave attention – good or bad. Try to steer clear of comments like, “eat your vegetables,” because it’s likely it will only cause your child to resist more. As a caregiver, your responsibility is to prepare a well-rounded meal, but your children are in charge of what goes in their bellies.
- Dunk it! A little bit of salad dressing can be magical in helping kids to explore new vegetables like carrots, celery, or peppers. Other healthy dips to try include hummus, Greek yogurt, and salsa.
- But first, fiber. Fiber is essential to a balanced diet, and cereal is a great place to find it. Cheerios, Mini-Wheats, and Raisin Bran are kid-friendly, fiber-full cereals. Oatmeal, whole grain waffles and pancakes are yummy options too.
- Invite a new sous chef into your kitchen. Giving your kids a sense of control is the cooking process is a wonderful way to help them feel attached and proud of the food they see on the table. Give them real but limited choices in the kitchen: would you like to wash the vegetables or measure the flour? Mix the eggs or toss the salad?
- Indulge! There is nothing wrong with indulging in some sweet treats every now and then. Dessert is a great time to teach your kids about balance, and show them that enjoyment from food is a great part of life!
For information on how to prevent the most common
nutritional deficiency in children, click here.