Parents know that getting kids to adopt healthy eating habits can be a daunting task. We understand how important proper nutrition is, but the combination of busy lives, picky eaters and the availability of cheap and easy meals often leads us to make poor food choices for ourselves and our children.
With the new school year upon us, here are some simple ways to start making healthy eating habits together.
Share meals together – The benefits of eating together as a family have been studied extensively. According to numerous reports issued by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), “children who eat at least five times a week with their family are at lower risk of developing poor eating habits, weight problems or alcohol and substance dependencies, and tend to perform better academically than their peers who frequently eat alone or away from home.”
Lead by example – Children look to their parents for guidance. If you choose to take the time to prepare a meal instead of stopping for fast food, your kids will take note. Keep healthy foods on hand to avoid falling into the convenience trap.
Have your kids help – Get them involved in the cooking process from start to finish. Let them choose ingredients and help them come up with a healthy meal. Instill a sense of pride in them that comes with seeing an idea turns into a finished product.
Stock your pantry with healthy snacks – When we’re hungry (or think we’re hungry), we grab easy snacks that we think will satisfy the taste we’re craving. If the only options are healthy ones, we’ll make better choices or realize we’re not as hungry as we thought.
By following a few simple guidelines, we can create healthy habits that will last a lifetime.