As parents, you can guide your children to develop healthy habits early in life that will surely bring them lifelong benefits. You can encourage your kids to evaluate their physical activity habits and food choices as well. Here are some guidelines to get you started:
Be a role model by eating healthy yourself: when children see you eating rightly well balanced meals and getting physically active as well, they’ll surely take notice of your efforts. You’ll be sending the right message that good health is important to your family. Hence make sure your diet is healthy and rightly balanced.
Guide your children to eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full.
Eating slowly is excellent for weight control at any age. It’s important that they learn to slow down and chew their food properly. It’s a great way to guide children that it takes about 20 minutes for the message that they are full to get from their stomachs to their brains.
Choose non-processed after-school snacks like homemade cookies or, even better, fruit. Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your kids’ favourite foods whenever possible.
As parents you should encourage your children to eat regular meals with you at the table, it can not only reduce snacking, it can also teach valuable social skills. By taking part in regular family meals children are more likely to eat grains, fruits and vegetables. And less likely to snack on unhealthy foods.
Make water the drink of choice at all meal times, and keep juice and sweet drinks as occasional treats. Children should opt for water first when they are thirsty and not sugar-sweetened drinks.
Eat breakfast: If you can get your children to establish the habit of eating a good breakfast at a young age, it will stay with them as they get older. Eating breakfast, even if it’s just a glass of milk and a fruit, it surely activates and charges up the body and makes it easier to maintain lasting energy throughout the day.
It’s sensible to choose healthier snacks: It’s easy to grab for biscuits or chips when children feel like nibbling on something, but these snacks tend to be low in nutrients and high in calories so instead, try to keep your kitchen cupboards stocked with healthier and nutritious snacks such as fruits, air-popped popcorn, unsalted nuts and unsweetened yoghurt etc.
Children are more likely to become adventurous and innovative eaters if they know and learn how to cook. Make it fun for kids by giving them their own aprons and letting them help regularly with small tasks in the kitchen. As children get older and more confident, let them cook dinner once a week. It’s a good idea to enrol them in cooking classes during the school holidays.