Many parents want to improve their child’s diet but are not aware of the proper ways to teach childhood nutrition. Some parents in today’s society believe that forcing their child to clean their plate ensures they are receiving healthier food. What most parents don’t think about is the snacks their child may be eating during the day that contribute to their child being full at dinnertime. Children who do not have healthy eating habits are likely to continue making unhealthy eating choices into adulthood.
For most children’s nutrition it is recommended that they eat three meals a day and two nutritious snacks, limiting high sugar and high fat foods. Starting to teach your child to have healthier eating habits can prevent many medical problems, including; obesity, osteoporosis, and developing diabetes.
Snacks can be a good part of your child’s diet if they are the right kinds of snacks. Fresh fruit can be used instead of cookies and potato chips. Snacks that are high in fiber and Vitamin C, low in fat, and have no added sugar are one of the best ways to improve your child’s diet. You can improve your child’s diet by incorporating the following snacks:
•apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, strawberries, watermelon, etc.
•dried fruits, including raisins and prunes
•fruit cups or canned fruit in water, 100% fruit juice or light syrup
•raw vegetables, including carrots, celery, or broccoli, that can be served with a •low-fat dip or dressing
•dairy products, such as low-fat cheese, yogurt, and pudding, or a homemade fruit smoothie
•whole grain snacks, which can include some breakfast cereals, crackers, cereal bars, baked chips, and popcorn (without added butter), or pretzels
•popsicles made with 100% fruit juice
•nuts and trail mix
•water and milk
One of the best way’s to improve your child’s diet is to cut out unhealthy snack habits like cookies, chips, candy, doughnuts, fruit drinks, and soda. Children should not need a bedtime snack, but usually need a late morning and early afternoon snack. Here are some tips having healthier food that will improve your child’s diet:
•Have a regular snack time, usually late morning and early afternoon for toddlers and preschoolers and just after-school for older kids.
•having nutritious snacks handy and ready for your kids to eat
•limiting snacks to just 100 to 150 calorie servings so that they don’t turn into an extra meal
•not allowing snacks to be too close to lunch or dinner
Monitor the serving size of your child’s snacks. For example, if your child’s after-school snack consists of Oreo cookies, keep in mind that it takes just three Oreos to 160 calories and a lot of extra fat and sugar in his diet. And if he eats six or nine Oreo cookies, that quickly adds up to an extra meal and not a very healthy meal, either.
Improve your child’s diet by eating healthy yourself. Eat a balanced variety of foods, and balance the food you eat with physical activity. Avoid fast food and caffeine and incorporate a diet with plenty of whole grain products, vegetable and fruits. Avoid salty snacks and sugary foods and choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Having enough calcium and iron in your child’s diet will help meet their body’s needs. Be smart about the foods you purchase by reading the labels. If you notice how much sugar is in certain foods; you might surprise yourself if you thought that food was healthy. While that cookie looks good, teach your child about their health and how making proper food decisions will benefit them later in life.