In today`s day and age we have lot more choices of food available for our children. But the food that our children are having is not necessarily nutritious and helpful for their growth and development. How can we establish a lifelong relationship with food that is positive, healthy and sustainable?
1. Strike a healthy balance instead of having strict food rules – Restricting foods like sugars does not create healthy habits; on the other hand, it usually makes children sneak and overeat. Instead it is better to teach kids how to create balance and enjoy variety of foods. Allowing sugary foods with some structure is helpful as you ease up and assure your child that you are no longer trying to control them. Restriction and pressure have been linked to negative outcome in terms of eating behaviour and weight status.
2. Lead by example – The best way parents can influence children to eat healthy is by role modelling and eating healthy themselves. Teaching children good eating habits from the beginning is best but even if they are teenagers it isn’t too late to improve their diet and yours.
3. Colour adds variety and balance – Fruits and vegetables all contain different vitamins and minerals meaning we need variety when we consume our two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables each day. Colour comes from different components in fruits and vegetables. Components called anthocyanins contribute to the red and purple colour of fruits and vegetables such as plums, eggplant and red cabbage. Also, beta carotene found in carrots create the yellow to orange colour. These colours provide many health benefits.
4. Practice portion control – Gets kids involved in figuring out how much to eat. A closed fist is about a cup. It is the amount experts recommend for a portion of pasta, rice, cereal, vegetable and fruit. Chicken or meat portion should be about as big as palm.
5. Always have the breakfast – As per research, skipping breakfast can affect child`s ability to learn. It decreases their alertness, memory and ability to pay attention.