304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
The battle to get your children to eat healthily can feel like an uphill battle when they are subjected to peer pressure and commercials for junk food on television. When you factor in your busy schedule, it is easy to see why so many parents base their children’s diets on fast food and other convenient options.
However, switching your child’s diet to one that is healthier can have a significant impact on their health, helping them to keep a healthy weight, stabilize their moods, improve their mental acuity, and avoid a variety of health problems. A healthy diet can also improve your child’s mental and emotional well-being, and it can help prevent conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Eating well supports your child’s healthy growth and development into adulthood, and it may even play a role in lowering their risk of suicide in the future. A healthy diet can help your child manage their symptoms and regain control of their health if they have already been diagnosed with a mental health problem. Continue reading if your child has already been diagnosed.
It is important to keep in mind that your children are not born with an aversion to vegetables like broccoli and carrots and a craving for foods like French fries and pizza. This conditioning takes place over time as they are subjected to an increasing number of options for unhealthy foods. However, it is possible to retrain your children’s palates so that they crave healthier foods rather than junk food.
If you begin including options in a child’s diet that are natural and high in nutrients as early as possible, it will be much simpler for that child to form a positive relationship with food that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. And it might be easier and take less time than you anticipate at the same time. Give your children the best chance possible to develop into healthy, well-balanced adults by instilling healthy eating habits in them using these suggestions. You can do this without turning mealtimes into a battleground for your children.
Children, regardless of their age, will naturally gravitate toward eating the kinds of foods that they enjoy the most, regardless of whether they are toddlers or teenagers. The challenge of making nutritious food choices appealing is a necessary step in the process of fostering healthy eating habits.
Put more of your attention on your diet as a whole rather than on individual foods. It is important for children to consume more whole foods, foods that have been minimally processed, foods that are as close to their natural form as possible, and significantly less packaged and processed foods.
Be a role model. It is natural for children to want to imitate their parents, so if you want your child to eat vegetables, you shouldn’t gorge yourself on potato chips in front of them.
Try to hide the taste of the healthier foods you’re eating. You could, for instance, add vegetables to a beef stew, mash carrots with mashed potato, or add a sweet dip to apple slices. All of these options are delicious!
Prepare more of your meals at home. Because restaurant and takeout meals typically contain more added sugar and unhealthy fat, cooking at home can have a significant positive impact on your children’s health. If you cook in large batches, you may only need to cook a few times to have enough food to feed your family for a week.
Include children in activities such as going grocery shopping and preparing meals. You can educate them on a variety of foods and teach them how to read nutrition labels.
Make nutritious snacks readily available. To help your children steer clear of unhealthy snacks like soda, chips, and cookies, stock up on plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and healthy beverages (such as water, milk, and 100% fruit juice).
Limit portion sizes. Never use food as a reward or bribe for your child, and never insist that they finish everything on their plate.
Not only does taking the time to sit down together as a family to enjoy a home-cooked meal send a positive message to children about the significance of eating well, but it also has the potential to bring a family closer together. Even teenagers who are in a foul mood look forward to eating delicious meals prepared at home.
The security that comes from having regular meals with the family. It can be very reassuring for children to know that the entire family will sit down to eat dinner (or breakfast), approximately at the same time every day, which can also stimulate an increased appetite in children.
You can get caught up on your children’s day-to-day activities during family mealtimes. When the whole family sits down together for a meal, there is no competition for your attention from the television, the phone, or the computer; this makes it the perfect time to talk to and listen to your children.
Your child will benefit greatly from participation in social activities. Your child’s state of mind and sense of self-worth can benefit greatly from a straightforward conversation with you about how they are feeling while you are eating dinner together. This can help relieve your child’s stress and improve their mood. In addition to this, it allows you to recognize issues in your child’s life and address them at an earlier stage.
You have the opportunity to “teach by example” during mealtimes. When you eat with your children, they will see you eating nutritious food, and you will be more likely to watch your portions and consume less junk food. However, to prevent your children from developing unfavorable associations with food, you should avoid engaging in compulsive calorie counting and refrain from making comments about your weight.
The eating patterns of your children can easily be observed during mealtimes. This may be important for older children and adolescents who eat a significant amount of their meals at school or the homes of their friends. If your teen’s eating habits are less than ideal, the most effective way to persuade them to change is to emphasize the short-term consequences of poor diets, such as the effect it has on their physical appearance or ability to participate in sports. In the long run, these are more important to adolescents than their health. “Calcium will help you grow taller,” or “Iron will help you do better on tests,” you might hear. Both of these assertions are correct.