Children need to learn healthy eating habits at home. By teaching children healthy eating habits and modeling good behaviour as a mom, you can help your children maintain a healthy weight and normal growth.
Healthy eating habits which your children pick up when they are young will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle when they are adults.
As a parent, you can encourage your kids to evaluate their food choice and physical activity habits. Here are some tips and guidelines to get you started.
Encourage your children to eat slowly. A child can detect hunger and fullness better when they eat slowly. Before offering a second helping or serving, ask your child to wait for some minutes to see if they are truly still hungry. This will give the brain time to register fullness. Also, that second helping should be much smaller than the first.
Be a good role model to your children. You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if your children see you trying to eat right and getting physically active, they will take notice of your efforts and follow suit. This is because you are sending a message that good health is important for your family.
Continuous snacking may lead to overeating in children, but snacks that are planned at specific times during the day can be part of a nutritious diet, without spoiling a child’s appetite at meal times. You should make your children’s snacks as nutritious as possible, without depriving them of occasional chips or cookies, especially at parties or other social events.
Encourage your children to drink more water. Over consumption of sweetened drinks and sodas has been linked to increased rates of obesity in children. Encourage your children to drink water as often as they should throughout the day.
Get your whole family moving for health reasons. Plan times for everyone exercise together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together.
Be realistic about eating goals. Setting realistic goals and limits are keys to promoting healthy eating habits in children. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in their health over time, so start small and build up.
Limit TV, video game and computer time. These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle and excessive snacking, which increase risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease in children. Limit screen time to 2 hours per day.
Encourage physical activities that they will really enjoy. Every child is unique. Let your child experiment with different activities until they find something that they really love doing.
Make dinner time family time. When everyone eats together as a family, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much. Get your children involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus.
Make a game of reading food labels. The whole family will learn what’s good for their health and be more conscious of what they eat. It’s a habit that helps change behaviour for a lifetime.