Teaching Your Children to Eat Healthy
By Sara Butler
As a parent, you put a lot of emphasis on creating a supportive environment for your children to learn. But the real question is: Do you foster an environment in which they can make good food choices too? Childhood obesity is on the rise and has been for years. You can set your kids up for a healthier and happier life by helping your children to develop a positive relationship with food and leading by example. Here are a few tips to help you get your child to eat healthy and form good food habits too.
When you put a lot of restrictions on what your child can or can’t eat, then you’re not fostering a healthy relationship with food for them. Instead of putting a blanket ban on foods, talk about the other options and the choices they can make that are healthier. Encourage your child to eat fresh vegetables, fruits, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. Discourage heavily processed junk food -- just don’t outlaw it!
Have Healthy Food Around
Children will eat what is available to them. So, keep a bowl of fruit out that they can choose from as they please instead of buried in the refrigerator. They’ll eat the food they have to choose from, so show them what foods are healthy and which are not.
It doesn’t help your child to label some foods as bad while others are good. Instead of attaching labels, tie different foods to things your child care about. A great example is telling them that foods rich in calcium are what help to make them strong so they can play their favorite sport. Or that a healthy breakfast will help them concentrate in school and get good grades.
When your child makes a healthy choice, reinforce it with praise. It makes your child feel good and encourages them to keep making healthy food choices.
When your child makes a choice and it’s something less-than-desirable from a health standpoint, don’t nag them about it. Instead, try to redirect them to a better choice, for example:
- Baked tortilla chips and salsa instead of potato chips and dip
- Strawberries with cream instead of candy
- Roasted potato wedges instead of french fries
They’ll start making these connections in their mind and decide on healthier options on their own -- eventually!
Teaching your child to make healthy food choices is important, so start today!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Los Angeles, Calif.