Tips given by Katie Van Es, medical student at University of Wisconsin and former Sr. Program Officer of Food & Nutrition and Health & Water at Feed the Children
Developing healthy habits for your children is important, especially at a young age.
It’s perfectly fine and actually good to indulge with your family from time to time! However, it’s also important to establish good eating habits and promote a healthy lifestyle for your child’s development. If you eat healthy meals with your children, they are more likely to grow up making healthier choices.
Here are 4 tips to help you get started:
- Eat meals together : Studies have shown that eating together tends to promote more sensible eating habits. When kids eat with their parents, they are more likely to consume the USDA recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, it helps them handle the stresses of daily life and tends to lower the rates of obesity in both children and adults.
- Eat a balanced breakfast : Even if a child just has an apple with a glass of milk in the morning, it makes all the difference. Choosing a breakfast that is rich in fiber and protein jumps starts the brain and makes it easier to maintain energy throughout the day, which is vital for school-age children. They can better concentrate in class and participate in physical activities without potential exhaustion.
- Make sure children have plenty of protein : Growing children need ample protein. Children who don’t get enough protein can suffer from poor concentration, joint pain and fatigue. According to a Harvard study, millions of young children don’t get enough protein due to food insecurity. Parents who provide their children with lean meats, eggs, nuts and low-fat dairy products, can greatly improve their child’s digestive system. However, our bodies can only absorb about 30 grams of protein at once, so it should be consumed it in small amounts multiple times a day.
- Get your child involved: One of the best ways to get children to play an active role in their nutrition is to involve them in the process of grocery shopping and cooking. While parents are having a balanced meal with their children, they can use this time to have an open dialogue about the importance of their health. By nature, children voice their likes and dislikes concerning food. Parents can use their opinions to craft a healthy routine for their future.