Ensuring your child’s safety isn’t always about protecting them from strangers or accidents. Something you do every day of their lives can protect them from other, less obvious threats for years to come.
Feeding kids isn’t an easy job, but if you model good eating habits and give them healthy food options, it will set them up for a lifetime of good health.
Before you roll your eyes, I’m not saying you need to become vegetarian or vegan. Simply adding more plant-based foods to your child’s diet gives them the nutrition they need to grow up healthy. Introducing plant-based foods early on can have a positive effect on their future eating habits.
Eating these types of foods can help promote heart health and prevent diabetes, among other benefits. Add a good balance of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts, and plant oils to their daily diets. If they grow up eating mac n’ cheese or hot dogs, they’ll likely continue those eating habits as adults which can have a severe impact on their health – and how long they live.
Show, Don’t Tell
If you want to raise healthy eaters, you too should have a healthy relationship with food. In this day and age, kids are growing up with all sorts of information feeding their minds about food. But it can be too much for little ones to take in–and, worst of all, they may learn the wrong lessons and develop disordered eating later in life.
Instead of labeling foods as good or bad, make food fun and positive. Exploring new foods and talking about how food makes the body go and grow is an important part of developing good eating habits. Do this as a family and your kids will learn the value of eating healthy while developing a positive relationship with food.
You should also remember that as a parent you are buying most, if not all, of their food. What you keep in your home is what they’ll eat. Replace the unhealthy snacks and meals with healthier choices they like. Many schools also offer the ability to manage what your child is allowed to buy on their lunch accounts. Limit their spend on unhealthy items like the french fry bar while ensuring they get a proper meal.
I’m not saying they should never get a fresh batch of cookies or their favorite candy bar from the checkout line. As long as you are ensuring that the healthy foods outweigh the junk they put in their bodies, you are helping them lead healthier lives.