Do you remember the most recent time that your entire family sat down around the dining table and ate dinner together? Was your child at the table too or in his or her room while eating and watching television unsupervised? This describes the picture of what many American families experience and tolerate with their children. While you may be no different now, you can change things because this is not good for you or your child, especially if your child has become obese due to bad eating habits. A parent or parents together must work in unison to steer children in the right direction and healthy eating is among those things. Let’s take a look at how healthy food choices can make a difference.
If you want to be sure that your child eats healthy, you should then involve your child in the planning of meals, preparing the meals and actually going with you to the grocery store to do the shopping. The time that your child invests into these household chores will start to make a world of difference. Even if you have a toddler, you can get him or her involved with helping you to make certain easy meals or healthy snacks. These activities will teach children how to prepare and eat healthy foods.
It is your responsibility as a parent to teach your children where food originates from. Instead of restricting yourself to going grocery shopping once per week, it would be helpful to take your children to the local farmer’s market, giving them an opportunity to meet the farmers that grow the actual food and ask questions. If you plant tomatoes in your garden, let the child help you to pick the tomatoes, appreciating the labor of love that goes into it before actual eating it.
Stock up your pantry with healthy snacks for your children. Without any help from you, the child will have something healthy to reach for when you are not around. If you are traveling in the car with your child, be sure to take along healthy snacks such as whole grain crackers, raisins, carrot sticks, sliced apples and water.
Freedom to Choose
Children also love the freedom to choose. So, if you are strapped for time and not able to fix four or five different meals chosen by each family member, you could fix a base meal such as rice and beans or whole grain tortillas and then allow your kids and any adults present to dress up the meal with what they want such as lettuce, salsa, parsley, toppings, tomatoes, cheese or cabbage. You could also try fixing different kinds of pasta with healthy choices of different sauces. At snack time, your children will likely love to have options. Therefore, you could consider including various healthy snacks in their lunch bag to take to school and have those available at home too.
The Bottom Line
Last, but not least, you should become a role model for your children by eating healthy yourself. Children will usual adopt the food choices that they see from parents. So, be an ambassador for change by putting health first.