Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kids Nutrition and Healthy Eating

As Childhood Obesity Awareness Month winds down, let's explore healthy eating for kids. When you can start healthy eating habits at a young age, they are likely to continue until adulthood. If you have children whose eating habits are not so great, you can change them to become more healthy.

There are many strategies that can improve nutrition and encourage healthy eating habits in children of all ages. Below are just a few of the top strategies that will help not only the kids in the family, but the adults, too

Family Meals
Children love and thrive on routine. Eating together as a family is a great way for everyone to catch up on the day's activity and connect with each other. Kids who take part in regular family meals are also:
•more likely to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains
•less likely to snack on unhealthy foods
•less likely to smoke, use marijuana, or drink alcohol
Family meals also offer the chance to introduce kids to new foods and to act as a role model for healthy eating.

Having Healthy Food Available

As simple as it sounds, just having healthy foods available at home will increase the likelihood that kids will eat them. They will eat whatever is available, so if you have a lot of junk food, they will eat that instead. Make sure your kids eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and make them a part of very meal. Healthy snacks in addition to fruits and vegetables could include cheese, low-fat yougurt and peanut butter. Lean meats and other protein sources such as eggs, nuts and fish, along with whole-grain carbs (breads, crackers, cereals) that have higher amounts of fiber, will round out a healthy diet. Limiting fat, sugar and low-nutrient snacks such as chips and cookies, will help too. Allowing kids a "treat" once in a while is a good idea so they don't feel completely deprived.

Be a Role Model

Kids will follow their parents' lead. When you eat will, your kids will do the same. Send your kids the right message by eating fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods, limiting the junk and eating appropriate portion sizes. A great part of this is that it will help you maintain or achieve a healthy weight.

Avoid Battles Over Food

Do not use food as a bargaining tool with your kids or bribe them with it. It's okay to give kids some control over what they eat. When it's snack time, offer several choices. Establish a consistent snack and meal schedule but also allow your kids to decide when they are hungry. If they skip a snack, they will know the next meal is coming at the regular time. Don't force kids to clean their plates and don't use dessert as a reward for finishing a meal. Keep mostly healthy foods at home and remember that treats are okay every once in a while.

Let Kids Help Make Decisions

When planning dinners, ask your kids to help decide what to include in the meals. Make it fun and let them help you in the kitchen, with some of the food preparation or setting and clearing the table. Let them also help decide what goes in their lunch boxes. Give them healthy choices, but allow them to pick exactly what they get to take with them and eat during the day. Getting them involved like this as children will give them good habits that they will be able to continue when they become adults.

Along with exercise and regular activity, your child will be well-balanced and healthy by following these guidelines. Exploramania wants to help you and your kids maintain a healthy lifestyle with its interactive educational experiences. Check out our website for more info and join our Facebook fan page for regular updates, current information and free Exploracise Gymathtics DVD giveaways that will help your kids achieve these goals.

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