While childhood obesity is a serious issue in the United States, healthy eating habits for children affect more than just their weight. Making sure that your child is physically healthy, including their weight and body mass, has a huge impact on their mental health and development as well. Eating healthy and having healthy eating habits can give kids the energy that they need, sharpen their minds, and it can even temper their moods. There are plenty of benefits to eating healthy, and there are several ways in which you can instill good eating habits.
Kids may have a notorious sweet-tooth and a love for junk food, and while such treats may be alright to give them once in a while, it is not good for their overall health to give it to them all the time. These may seem like easy food options for busy parents. Sweets, junk food or fast food may be easy and convenient and kids are not likely to complain about eating them. It may seem like an easy go-to when you’re on the run between taking kids to school, going to work and running errands, but these food options are not good for your child’s development.
Perhaps the most important part of a healthy diet for kids is breakfast. Eating breakfast gives kids the physical and mental energy that they need to start their day, which is especially important on school days when their focus is especially important. Going without breakfast can have a severe impact on their academic performance. Kids who are not given breakfast are not capable of performing as well in school because of a lack of focus, mental energy and overall lack of nutrition. There is a reason why breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day – and this is especially true for children whose bodies and minds are growing and developing rapidly every day.
There are plenty of ways to instill a healthy diet, with your children and with your whole family. If you find that you are pressed for time, then preparing meals ahead of time can be a viable solution. Many kids are not given breakfast because mornings can be hectic, but this is no excuse. Parents with busy schedules need to provide for their children and not being able to do so is detrimental to their health. If you are a parent whose mornings are particularly busy, then consider preparing breakfast and packing lunches in the evening. You can do this while making dinner or when dinner is over. While you are still in the kitchen, you can prepare meals for the next day and tackle all of the related clean-up at once. When prepping such meals, it is important to be mindful of the nutritional values as well. Try making well-balanced dishes consisting of whole grains, fruits and vegetables that will gives kids the nutrition they need to develop their minds, stay physically healthy and feel good.
Routines can also help improve the family’s eating habits. Planning regular family meals, such as dinner, can work wonders. Have your kids participate in the prepping and cooking of the meal as well. If kids are involved in the cooking process, they are more likely to want to try new, healthy foods that they may otherwise reject or be weary of such as vegetables or other healthy items. It is also important to be mindful of portion sizes.
Snacking is another thing that parents should be concerned about. Kids may ask for candies, chips and other things of that nature, and while these snack options may seem easy, they are not very healthy. There are chips and crackers that contain whole grains, which can make a better substitute to greasy potato chips. Small veggies like baby carrots or cut-up fruits like banana or apple slices are also great snack options as well. These are not empty-calorie snacks – instead they are full of essential nutrients and will help boost your child’s brainpower and their overall wellbeing.
Another great way to instill good eating habits is to make it fun! Cutting snacks into fun shapes or even playing around with food coloring can help entice even the most picky or reluctant eaters. Making a game out of eating and making it healthy can be easier than you think.
It is important that children eat well if you want them to stay healthy both physically and mentally. We hope these tips will help you work a healthy diet into a busy schedule and in the long run it will do wonders for everyone in your family, especially your children.
KDNovelties.com is a children’s book publishing company and provides tips and resources on reading and overall parenting advice for busy parents.