It’s never too early to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. Your kids will frame their future perspective on health and eating right based on the foundation you’re laying right now. Here is how to teach them about good choices and set them up for good well-being throughout their lives.
It starts with you. As parents, we’re responsible for molding our children, good and bad. Sure, when they get older they will be making decisions on their own, but the choices you make right now establish the criteria they’ll use for making their decisions later. Because of this, Psychology Today recommends showing them, not only telling them, how they should be living. It boils down to us as parents setting a good example. If we talk to them about good health, we should also be eating right or our words are empty ones. We can also look for great teachable moments. For instance, when you’re making your favorite banana bread and the kids are helping you measure ingredients, revamp the recipe to include all brown sugar and no white sugar, and cut the quantity of sugar. Change out white flour for whole wheat as well, and use olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Talk with your children about why and how you alter the recipe as you go. When the bread comes out of the oven as delicious as ever, your kids will see the truth of healthy and yummy going together just fine. And of course, keep your kids’ personalities in mind when you’re teaching them about good health. For instance, if harping on
a subject pushes one of them away from it, don’t incite that rebellion. Lay the groundwork in the best way for each child, and you’ll see more positive results.
Choosing good nutrition. Eating right is a foundation for good health, so it’s important to know what choices to make yourself so you can encourage your children appropriately and set a great example. As some professionals note, children need good nutrition in order to grow and develop properly. Without it, they won’t have the energy and resources to meet their needs. Children should eat the same good foods as adults, although their requirements can vary with their growth stages. Their diet should include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and healthy protein sources such as fish, chicken, beans and nuts. Limit your kids’ intake of added sugars and unhealthy fats. Family Doctor explains unhealthy fats are found in fried foods, vegetable shortening, margarine, packaged foods and processed foods.
Budget-friendly options. Most of us want to stretch our dollars as far as we can, and sometimes it feels like good nutrition comes at a price. However with a few clever shopping and planning strategies, you can eat healthy on a budget. Start by stocking your pantry with plenty of healthy staples, like beans, brown rice and whole grain pastas. When you’re planning meals, select inexpensive and filling foods. For instance for breakfast, you can make traditional oatmeal and spice it up (literally!) with cinnamon and raisins. Shopping can be a challenge, but keep your eyes peeled for sales so you can stock up. Another idea is to buy the store brand items instead of the name brands, and choose in-season produce for the best prices. Shopping is a great time to get your kids involved in the food choices, too. Offer them a couple of wallet- friendly options in the fruits and veggies section and let them pick their favorites for the week. Also talk with them about why those foods are healthy. It’s a great time for you to take advantage of a teachable moment.
Some of my go-tos. Now that I’ve shared my expertise with you about how to help your children make healthy food choices, I thought it would be great to share some of my family’s favorite, kid-approved, go-to recipes:
Healthy choices now. What your children learn about healthy living starts with you. You can set a great example and look for teachable moments, tailoring to your kids’ personalities for the best effect. Set your children up for good health throughout their lives by teaching them well now!
We would like to thank Amanda Henderson of Safe Children, for this wonderful guest post. For mor from Amanda, please visit http://safechildren.info