If you think you’re the only parent whose nutritional values are thwarted when your child goes over to a friend’s house, you’re wrong. There are many parents who feel the same way, and wonder how they can ensure their child’s nutrition at friends’ homes. But how do you do it? If you can instill most of your nutritional values into your child before they even leave the house, they are more likely to eat nutritionally at a friend’s house, and you are more likely to worry less. Here are some ways to teach your child about nutrition in order to keep nutrition while at a friend’s.
•If you want your child to make healthy food choices away from home, then you’re going to have to take some time to teach them exactly what that is. If they don’t know what healthy foods are, they’re going to have a hard time choose them. Teach them about the food pyramid and what kinds of foods they should be eating. Along with the kinds of foods you can also teach them about serving sizes and how much they should be eating to keep their bodies healthy. The more your child knows about food, the more likely they will choose better foods. Make sure in your teaching that you go into how your body functions if you eat healthy foods, and if you don’t. Young children love to know that if they eat certain foods they will have big muscles and strong bones.
•Help your child establish health eating patterns. Kids are active, whether they are young children or teenagers. They need mental and physical energy to make it through a good day. If you can teach them how to establish healthy eating patterns, those behaviors will carry outside of the home. Make sure you are offering regular meals and snacks and that your child eats according to appetite and without force. When you provide them with regular eating patterns they may be less likely to go over to a friend’s house and just eat the whole time.
•Implementing quality meal times as a family at home is a great way to teach about nutrition and allows your child to see what meal times should be like. That way, when they’re invited to eat with a friend they won’t scarf the meal down just to have more time to play. When you eat meals as a family encourage your children to talk and share activities they have done that day. Keep the TV off and let the phone ring. This is important family time and a great way to talk and relax. As you do this regularly, kids are more than likely to do this at a friend’s home.
•Part of nutrition is having an active lifestyle and encouraging physical activity. Encourage your child to get out of the house and do things. You’d be surprised at how much energy a child has and how long they can run around outside for. If you can get them active and provide physical activity for them on a daily basis they will expect that same thing when they go to a friend’s house. They will want to be imaginative and creative in their play, instead of just sitting around watching TV eating potato chips. Encourage your child to walk instead of using the car; take fieldtrips; and get active. Physical activity is contagious and friends will want to do it to.
•If you are truly concerned about the nutrition of your child, then give the friend’s parent a call and express your concern. Most parents are very understanding about a child’s diet and will be more than willing to make some adjustments according to their needs. If you don’t feel like you’re being overbearing you can even suggest some healthy foods you know you’re child likes. And if you really want to make sure they’re eating nutritionally, then you can send your own snacks over with them.
It can be tricky to ensure that your child has nutrition at friends’ homes, but if you take the time to teach them about nutrition, they are more likely to take an active role in eating healthy foods.