As a parent you hope that when your child is with friends, or moves away for college that they know how to make wise and nutritious food choices. It’s important to understand this when they are young enough to teach this to. After all, nutrition away from home starts at home with you. Teaching your children about nutrition and healthy eating habits will help ensure that they make wise food choices away from home. Here are some suggestions on how you can teach your children about proper nutrition.
Suggestion #1: Make time for a healthy breakfast.
In the rush of getting kids ready for school and you ready for work in the morning, the most important meal of the day gets the brush off. In teaching your children about nutrition, it is extremely important to show them how important breakfast is. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and can either make or break your day. Breakfast gets the body moving and the brain operating; but only if you eat the right foods. A breakfast bar or a slice of toast is not enough to do the job. Teach them that there are a wide variety of breakfast ideas and foods that can be eaten to ensure a healthy start to their day. It may require everyone to get up a little bit earlier, but you and your family will notice a difference. Some food suggestions are:
Whole grain cereals
Instant Quaker Oatmeal
Fruits or yogurt
Low fat dairy products
Suggestion #2: Take your children shopping with you & let them help with meal preparation.
Some of you cringe at the thought of taking any of your kids to the grocery store; I know; I’ve been there. But in taking them shopping with you, you are giving them an opportunity to have a say in what they will eat. Kids are more likely to eat something they’ve picked out. This is also an opportunity for you to teach them how to separate the healthy foods from the unhealthy ones; show them how preparing healthy meals tastes better and costs less. This can only benefit them as the grow up and move out on their own. After they’ve had a chance to help pick the food out, let them help you prepare it. Show them what goes into making a healthy, well balanced meal. Who knows, they may start to appreciate what you actually do for them.
Suggestion #3: Teach children that there is moderation in all things.
Although it’s important to teach your children that some foods like cookies, ice cream, and candies are high in fat and sugar, don’t ever make them off limits. Food that is “forbidden” may actually be more enticing and your children will start eating them without asking; sneaking them behind your back. Instead, teach them that those foods can also be part of a well balanced diet only if they are eaten in moderation. Sweets should always be eaten in moderation and if you teach your children that at home, they are more likely to control themselves when they are not at home.
Suggestion #4: Lead by Example
Children will follow your lead, so if you expect them to change their lifestyles and eat healthy meals and snacks then you had better make the change also. If your children see you eating healthy meals and snacks, as well as living a healthy lifestyle they are more prone to doing so also. Example is the best teacher; whether it is a good example or a bad one.
Nutrition away from home really does start at home. As a parent it is your responsibility to teach them about living a healthy life and making wise and healthy food choices. If you don’t teach them nutrition and healthy eating at home, they’ll learn poor eating habits somewhere else.