Healthy Eating Habits
Eating healthy as an adult is at times very challenging. But being a good role model to children is key to help them have an easier time with these decisions as they grow into adulthood. What I notice is the extremes- parents super diligent with their children’s eating habits versus the ones that its all about convenience. I absolutely get convenience however with a little extra effort we can reinforce better eating habits at young ages.
High sugar diets increase one’s cravings of high sugar high carbohydrate foods. I have so many parents say the only thing my children will eat is snacks – this is a learned bodily response not an innate response. The only way to change this is to change the diet. Peer pressure from seeing what friends are eating as well as commercials geared at children makes the battle even harder. The other battle is the battle of time as a parent.
The sooner you introduce healthy food options to your child’s diet the easier it will be. A good start is just adding more balance. Adding fruits and vegetables for lunch is a great start. I would also avoid juice. Juice is full of sugar and just empty calories. Adding cut up sweet pepper, cucumbers, carrots and celery and serve with a yogurt-based dip is a great idea- as what kid does not love to dip their foods. You can add ranch flavor to Greek plain yogurt for a healthier dip option.
Another great side with lunch could be cut up fruit with a side of almond butter or a honey yogurt dip. These would be all great sides to lunch versus the chips and cookies. You don’t want to eliminate sweets and treats as it can cause children to sneak foods, which could contribute to eating disorders. We want to teach balance and moderation.
Ways to help encourage healthy eating
- Be a good role model
- Eating dinner as a family
- Have children involved in shopping and cooking process
- Offer a variety
- Offer plenty of water avoiding sugary drinks and juices
- Bake or air fry favorite foods
- Make homemade lunchables
- Offer alternative lower sugar cookies
Healthy eating habits have been shown to help with mood, brain development and over all social emotional well being in children/people. Many studies show a decrease in depression, anxiety, ADHD, mood disorders and even autism with a healthy diet. Healthy eating habits will also help lower the risk of obesity and obesity related illnesses.