The importance of teaching nutrition to your children is become more evident as obesity in young children increases. Children are not being taught the importance of a well balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle at home, and therefore cannot implement those teaching when they are away from home. In helping our children live a more healthy life and understanding nutrition we need to teach them the benefits of doing so and how to do it. Nutrition away from home and what every parent should know can make all the difference.
Healthy eating entails a life of well balanced meals that are eaten three times a day. If you want your child to make wise food choices away from home, you have to teach them before they leave the home. Helping them understand that there are no “bad” foods is crucial to a healthy diet. Moderation is the key and something that should be learned by every child. But in a world full of fast food and rushing here and there it can be hard to teach your children how to make nutritious food choices. Here are some tips on helping your child live a more healthy and active lifestyle, and what parents need to know.
•Follow the Food Guide Pyramid. We have been given an outline as to what and how much of different foods we should be eating right? You don’t have to re-invent the wheel when it comes to eating nutritiously because it’s already there for you to use. Parents need to take the time to look at the Food Pyramid with their children and talk about what kinds of foods are healthy and how much of each food group they should be consuming on a daily basis. They need 2-3 servings of dairy products, 2-3 serving of meat products, 2-4 servings of fruits, 3-5 servings of vegetables, and 6-11 servings of breads and cereals. It may seem like a lot for a child to eat, but may once you start implementing their daily requirements they might stop wanting to snack on unhealthy foods all day long.
•Parents need to know how to help their children understand proper portion sizes are. The problem about lack of nutrition away from home is that portion sizes are distorted. Children don’t naturally know what a proper portion size is and do not instinctively know how to moderate what they eat. That’s why they have you. Most restaurants will give almost 2-3 portions more in one serving than you would eat at home. You could see how the trend of eating out would increase obesity anywhere if the portion sizes are twice as large as a well balanced meal at home. The more they eat out, the more they think that those portion sizes are just the norm.
•Teach your child about moderation by setting limits on sweets and such. Providing a healthy well balanced diet does not mean that you don’t get to eat sweets at all. It just means that you eat them in moderation and this is extremely important to teach your child. Since a lot of their time is spent away from home at school you need to teach them about what eating too many sweets can do to their body, their mind, and also their teeth. Show them the results of rotted teeth, sick stomach’s, and a tired brain from eating too much chocolate, or too many candies. In moderation though, these can be part of a healthy diet. Then when they are away from home, they’ll be more likely to use moderation in the foods they do eat.
•Plan for snacking throughout the day, whether they’re home with you or away at school. Healthy snacks can tie kids over until it’s time to eat lunch or dinner and can provide some good nutrients for their body. Unhealthy snacking however can take away from healthy meals and leave your body feeling tired and heavy.
•Most importantly, part of nutrition and a healthy body is an active life. Set a good example for your child by getting out of the house and doing something physical. Go play some basketball, go for a walk, and just let them play in the backyard. Kids need to be active to be healthy.
Nutrition away from home and what every parent should know is that a healthy well balanced diet and life begins at home with you.