The new epidemic in obesity is occurring in people who aren’t even adults yet. Children are the fastest growing segment of the obesity epidemic. But, you can counter the trend by teaching your kids to eat healthy. I think summer is the perfect time for some intentional focus on eating healthier.
We use food for fuel. The human body is a machine that utilized food to keep it going. But, it isn’t just any kind of food. It has to be full of the nutrients that the body needs to function. Most of the nutrients that we need can only come from food sources.
Starting Healthy Habits begins at Home
While your kids are learning other things from you, let them learn how to eat well also. Here are some tips.
Take them shopping – Introduce them to the world of food. Start in the produce section so they can see food in its natural form. Allow them to explore and even purchase something that is unusual and would be fun to learn to prepare.
Cook at home – When you prepare food at home, you are more aware of the nutrients in them. Let your kids help you fix meals and taste as you go along. This helps them see the natural flavor of foods and they may find a few favorites. Make food as fun as possible.
Allow them to cook – Kids love getting into the action. Why not let them learn to make a few favorite recipes? It helps reinforce what they see around them and will certainly give them an opportunity to learn a life skill they will need in the future! I love this ebook “Cooking 101 for Kids”. It is a great introduction and helpful guide to getting your kids in the kitchen and teaching them the basics. Here is a fun Pesto Chicken recipe that From Beans to Weenies shared with us that you can easily make with kids. I used chicken thighs the other day instead of breasts, since that is what I had in he freezer.
Try new things – Just because you don’t like tomatoes, don’t limit your child. Buy one for a salad and then let them decide if they like it or not.
Teach them about food – As you shop and cook, teach them about different foods – carrots are good for healthy eyes, protein in meat makes muscles strong, and the like. Don’t forget to show them how to enjoy natural flavors in foods and what spices to use to enhance them. Discuss fats, carbohydrates and protein.
Avoid the myths – When we were young, our parents told us that we had to finish all our food on our plate because kids were starving elsewhere. Encourage kids to eat until full even if that means leaving half a plate full of food. One reason for obesity is that we no longer know our fullness triggers or have been taught to ignore them.
Eat out only on certain occasions – One way to keep kids from getting used to fast food is not to offer it as an alternative. Eating out can be a treat that occurs on certain occasions. And, even then, try to teach them to choose healthier dishes.
Multivitamins – A multivitamin helps to supply the nutrients that we may miss each day in our daily meals. It is a supplement that is good for kids and adults.
Lead by example – If your kids notice that you are making healthier choices, they will do the same.
Teach kids to eat well to keep their body in shape and set habits for a lifetime – it all starts at home.
How do you help your kids make good food choices?