Teaching children the benefits of making healthy lifestyle choices about nutrition and physical activity is very important for the whole family’s long-term wellness. Encouraging children to eat healthy foods and sustain an active lifestyle does not have to be a power struggle.
What are some tips for eating healthy?
Understanding what to eat is only half the battle. Where you eat also matters. Children often do not know when they are full if they are distracted. Snacking in front of the television or rushing through a meal to get back to their favorite video game are distractions that keep kids from listening to their bodies.
Teaching children to listen to their personalized hunger/fullness scale, the body’s signals that ask for nourishment, will allow them to stay in tune with these indicators, and they will naturally know when to stop eating.
Resource for Families
What can parents do?
The key for parents in setting the proper nutritional example is to plan, prepare and provide healthy meals and snacks for the family to ensure the right foods are being eaten:
- Plan the times you will have snacks at home.
- Plan the foods you will provide as snacks.
- Think in colors; add fruits and vegetables in a variety of palettes.
- Eat different textures, such as smooth, crunchy or chewy.
- Drink low-fat milk or water.
- Limit the availability of sweet drinks such as soda, fruit flavored drinks and fruit juice.
What are the keys for healthy living?
- Increase physical activity by limiting TV, video and computer games to one hour each day.
- After school, play outside for at least 30 minutes.
- Plan an active family activity during the weekend, such as taking a walk or going to a park.
- Limit sugar and sweetened beverages.
- Have your family eat meals at the same time each day.
- Help your child develop a positive body image--they are beautiful no matter what their body shape.