By encouraging healthy eating habits at a young age, parents can positively sculpt their child’s lifelong relationship with food and help them grow into healthy adults. Below are five easy steps to help get you started.
1. Provide a balanced diet rich in nutrients and minerals. Half of your child’s plate should be covered with fruits and vegetables, one quarter should be whole grains and the remaining quarter is reserved for proteins. Be sure to make plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks and healthy beverages easily accessible to help curb unhealthy snacking and promote healthy choices.
2. Cook more meals at home, schedule meal times and involve your kids. By cooking at home, parents have more control over ingredients, portion sizes and meal/snack times. Additionally, when kids are involved in meal preparation, they learn the nutritional value of each food – it’s also important family time.
3. Control portion sizes. Exact food portions vary based on age, gender, weight and height, but the general rule of thumb is: one fist-sized serving of fruits, vegetables, pastas and beans and one palm-sized serving of proteins.
4. Increase physical activity and limit screen time. By limiting time spent in front of the TV/computer, kids can avoid unnecessary empty calories from snacking and be more physically active by playing outside.
5. Support a healthy lifestyle. By teaching kids healthy behaviors at a young age, parents help prevent future health issues like obesity, diabetes and iron-deficient anemia – so always strive to create a healthy home environment for the entire family.