When toddlers begin to eat "grown-up" food, they can develop "grown-up" Some of our habits do not make us healthy. It is never too early or too late for children to make healthy food choices. These simple tips with help you and your whole family to make healthy food choices.
1. Be a good role model
It is simple, children learn by watching you and they want to be just like you. You cannot expect to raise a child who eats healthy foods if you do not eat them yourself.
- Keep fruits and vegetables on hand and ready to eat.
- Select lean meets and low-fat proteins such as eggs, nuts, tofu and beans.
- Avoid deep-fried foods. Try healthier cooking options like broiling, grilling, roasting and steaming.
- Limit processed food. Avoid buying frozen or canned entrees. As a rule buy products that have common ingredients found in your kitchen, not a chemistry lab.
- Make fast food/junk food a once in awhile treat
- Do not keep soda or sugary drinks in your home.
- Limit the amount of 100% real fruit juice your kids drink too.
Be positive, as a first step talk about how good healthy foods are. Let your children know what foods you are eating and how important they are to growing stronger and bigger. This information can help your toddler understand how important it is to choose healthy foods, says Joan Ahlers.
2. Offer a variety for a balanced diet
Take note of eating patterns. The key to a balanced diet is variety. Different foods provide different nutrients, substances that are needed for growth and health. Your children should eat many different foods in order to get all of the nutrients they need. A varied diet will help them stay healthy and build strong bodies.
3. Eat fruits and vegetables of many colors
Your children should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Each color range provides different nutrients so they should eat a rainbow of colors. Make it fun! When you are at the grocery store, have your children pick out different colored fruits and vegetables. Colorful eating is an easy concept to teach small children. A lesson that will go along way to developing healthy eating habits now and in the future.
4. Eat slowly to avoid overeating. Do not be in a rush.
Eating slowly is very important to healthy living. It helps in digestion. It also reduces the chances of bloating, stomach pain or heart burn. In addition when you eat slowly, you prevent over eating. Eating slowly gives the stomach time to signal the brain when you have eaten enough. You can stop before you have eaten to much. This process normally takes about 20 minutes.
5. Encourage drinking water.
Water is the best drink for thirst and performs some big tasks in our bodies. It aids in digestion, regulates body temperature, takes nutrients to cells and carries waste away. Keep a fresh pitcher of cold water in the fridge at all times. Make water the first choice you offer your children at meals. If your child refuses add a little flavor by adding 1/2 cup juice to 1/2 cup water. You can also freeze juice in ice cube trays and add the cubes to a glass of water.
6. Start with small servings and do not force children to finish.
Make it a habit to put small servings of different foods on your children's plate. If they finish the serving they can always ask for more or try another food on the plate. At each meal try to include servings of fruit, vegetable, protein, dairy and grain. Children should listen to their bodies signals. They will alert them when they are full. Forcing your children to finish all their food teaches them to over eat. Encourage children to try each of the foods on their plats instead of finishing everything. If your child does not finish set it aside so they have it available for later, these make great healthy snacks.
How do you develop healthy eating habits in your home? Please share in the comments section below.
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