Childhood obesity is becoming a major health issue, and parents everywhere are concerned about teaching their children to eat nutritious meals and maintain a healthy weight. Here are some basic ideas for instilling good nutrition habits in your kids from an early age:
- Set the right example. Let your children see you eating good food, not junk.
- Provide a healthy variety. Don’t force foods on kids, but make nutritious food available in your home so they can choose what they want.
- Avoid power struggles. You can’t control what other children eat, nor what your child eats at a friend’s house. You can set the rules for your own home, so do it and don’t obsess about what others do.
- Involve your children. Take them to the store so they can see what you choose and so they can make a few selections of their own. Enlist them in helping prepare meals so they see what goes into a healthy dinner. Talk about where fruits and vegetables come from, and what goes into processed foods.
- Eat together. As much as possible, schedule dinners so everyone in the family can join. This helps you influence what your children eat at meals.
- Remind everyone to slow down. The faster people eat, the more they eat, generally speaking. Don’t let your kids race through dinner; urge them to take their time with every bite.
- Drink water. Water is better than soda and other sugary drinks, and helps kids feel full between meals.