Creating an environment where your kids can make healthy nutritional choices is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure the health of your child. By fostering a supportive environment, you and your family can develop a positive relationship with healthy food. You can lead them by your example. This is a wonderful way for you to share the importance of childhood nutrition.
Teaching Kids about Nutrition: Food Fuels Our Bodies
For one of the best ways of teaching kids about nutrition, simply tie foods to the things your child cares about, such as sports or doing well in school. Let your child know that lean protein such as turkey and calcium in dairy products give them strength for sports. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables add luster to skin and hair. And eating a healthy breakfast can help them keep focus in class. When children choose fatty, fried, unhealthy foods, redirect them by suggesting a healthier option. Instead of regular potato chips and dip, offer baked tortilla chips and salsa. If your child wants candy, try dipping fresh strawberries in a little chocolate sauce. Too busy? Keep naturally sweet dried fruit at home for quick snacks. Instead of buying French fries, try roasting cut up potatoes in the oven (tossed in just a bit of oil). Let your kids help with food preparation so they feel involved and invested in making healthy choices (here are 13 recipes for healthy food for kids they’ll love!). If you can, also let them go to the store and help pick out colorful and healthy fruits and veggies so they will be more likely to want to try them or garden if you can. These ways of encourage healthy eating can be a part of your every-day life. Our occupational therapists provide in-home care, so that children can grow (and even learn about kids nutrition) in the environment where they learn best. Learn more about feeding therapy here!
The Importance of Childhood Nutrition: Prioritize Dinnertime in Your Home
Wondering how to get kids to eat healthy? It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you talk about the importance of childhood nutrition. It’s about the little things, the little choices, however. One change you can make? Sit around a table for dinner. If this isn’t a tradition in your home, make it one. Research shows that children who eat dinners at the table with their parents have better nutrition and are less likely to get in serious trouble as teenagers. It’s one of the best ways to encourage healthy eating. Start with one night a week, and then work up to three or four, to gradually build the habit. Prepare plates at the kitchen. You can put the right portion of each item on everyone’s dinner plate, instead of offering up a food buffet or serve-yourself style. This way your children will learn to recognize healthy portion sizes. If adjusting to healthier portion sizes means smaller portions for your family, help make the switch seem less shocking by using smaller plates. Nothing happens over night be patient and continue to build a routine to empower your children for food success.