Creating Healthy Eating Habits for Kids
By: Susana De la Fuente, MS, RDN, CDDN, CD
April is Global Child Nutrition Month which is designed to bring awareness to childhood malnutrition. Though children may appear to be at a healthy weight, they could still have a poor diet. This can lead to things like stunted growth or wasting (being too thin for their height) and could place them at a higher risk of developing health issues such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancer later in life. Here a few healthy eating habits you could start implementing at home today with your kiddos to assure optimal growth.
Start with a mighty breakfast
Include a protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrate in their meal. Examples of this would include a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain toast, a scrambled egg sandwich with mashed avocado on toast, or Greek yogurt with mixed berries.
Prioritize family mealtimes
Studies show families that eat together during mealtimes without video distractions are more likely encourage kids to to explore a variety of fruits and vegetables and practice mindful eating.
Involve your kiddos in the kitchen
Assign an age-appropriate task for your child to help you with when you are preparing a meal. Your kids will be more likely to want to try what they helped you make, thus helping them overcome picky eating habits.
Switch to whole wheat instead of white bread, or low-fat milk instead of whole fat, or make fruit and veggie popsicles instead of opting for ice cream. These changes may seem small but are significant!