Teaching Your Children to Eat Healthy
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Parents want the best for their children, especially when it comes to their health. They know how important good nutrition is for optimal growth and development, but from the Food Guide Pyramid to the latest food fad, it can be confusing. HealthAmerica’s KidsHealth website offers the following 10 tips for parents to help their families be healthy:
1. Parents control the supply lines: You decide which foods to buy and when to serve them.
2. Kids decide if and what to eat: From the foods you offer, kids get to choose what they eat and whether to eat at all.
3. Quit the “clean plate club”: Let your children stop eating when they feel they’ve had enough.
4. Start them young: Food preferences are developed early in life, so offer a variety of foods.
5. Rewrite the kids’ menu: Who says kids only want to eat hot dogs, pizza, burgers, and macaroni and cheese? Your children might surprise you with their willingness to experiment with new foods.
6. Drink calories count: Soda and other sweetened drinks add extra calories and get in the way of good nutrition.
7. Put sweets in their place: Occasional sweets are fine, but don’t turn dessert into the main reason for eating dinner.
8. Food is not love: Find better ways to say “I love you.”
9. Kids do as you do: Be a role model and eat healthy yourself.
10. Limit TV and computer time: You’ll avoid mindless snacking and encourage activity.
“Involving the whole family is the best way to promote better eating habits and healthy activities for your children,” said Josh Bennett, M.D., vice president of quality and cost management at HealthAmerica and HealthAssurance. “A whole-family approach simply means that everyone – parents and kids alike – works together as a team to achieve good health and well-being. As with any team, there’s a leader or coach – and that’s the parent.”
By following these basic guidelines from HealthAmerica, you can create an environment that encourages your child to eat right and maintain a healthy weight.
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