>> Feb 20, 2013
As a parent it is your duty to your children to ensure they have all of the essentials they need to function properly in their everyday lives. This includes drinks, food, clothes and shelter. One of the hardest factors to control for your children is the food they eat as they can easily refuse to eat certain foods, or they can attempt to charm their way past having to eat food they do not want or like when you tell them to. Knowing what is healthy and what will help your children grow into strong young adults can give you good insight and ideas into what will make them want to eat more healthily.
There are four steps that you can take as a parent towards ensuring your child eats more of the correct food, allowing them to be healthy and support their developing bodies and immune systems as much as possible. These four steps include; eating more fruit and vegetables, consuming less fat and sugar, watching portion sizes and eating healthier daily snacks.
Eating More Fruits and Vegetables
It must be something about the way fruits and vegetables look that make children not want to eat them as so many children attempt to avoid these items like the plague. Convincing your children to eat these foods can be tough, but there are some good tips and tricks here to help your child reach their five daily fruit and vegetables goal. Firstly, try serving pure juice that is not from concentrate to your children; a glass of this counts as one of the daily five and is something that most children enjoy and do not consider as fruit or vegetables – this can also be a good opportunity to include any dietary supplements that can be mixed with water or juice into the diet. Next it is important to remember that all variations of fruit and vegetables count, this includes frozen, canned and fresh items, so experiment serving frozen fruit with yogurt as dessert and see how your children enjoy this.
Lowering Daily Intake of Fat and Sugar
Consuming foods that are high in fat and sugar is an easy mistake to make for people of any age and children are no exception to this rule, especially as these kinds of food are usually very tasty and therefore requested by children. To attempt to lower these fatty and sugary foods, try buying low-fat and sugar-free alternatives wherever possible. Choose cuts of meat that are leaner, such as skinless chicken or extra lean ground beef to lower fat consumption. Another excellent rule to remember here is to bake or grill food rather than frying as this is a much healthier, less fat-filled option.
Be Aware of Portion Sizes
Overloading plates with food is never the right choice. Although your child is growing and needs energy to be able to grow to their full potential, over-feeding them is not going to help this process. Children need children-sized portions, so give them smaller plates with less food than an adult would consume. Using the smaller plates gives the illusion of the same amount of food when in fact they have less; however it should quell any complaints they may have about portion size. Another rule here is to give small portions with the option of seconds. This ensures your child only eats the amount they want to eat, rather than eating everything on the plate simply because it is there.
Try Introducing Healthier Snacks
Many children get hungry during the day and will request a snack for a little energy boost at some stage between meals. Snacking can become a terrible habit, so offer them something healthy like fresh or dried fruit, or vegetable sticks such as carrot, celery or cucumber. These types of snack allow your child to gain some energy without ruining the healthy balance of their diet. It also allows you to worry less about their snacking habits as you can relax knowing you have given them healthy choices. Of course, cookies and similar snacks can be offered as occasional treats, but they should not be everyday snacking foods.
Helping your family to be healthy ensures they grow strong and have good immune systems for when they are older. It also sets a good example as they progress into young adults and allows them to make healthier choices later in life. Doing everything in your power to let them be healthy when they are younger is one of the best ways to avoid any possible health issues, and allows them to enjoy life to the fullest.