As a parent, you know that encouraging healthy food choices isn’t always a piece of cake. In recognition of National Nutrition Month, our pediatric physicians at Western Wake Pediatrics offer a few suggestions for helping your kids develop healthy eating habits.
For most of us, convincing our children to reach for carrot sticks over twinkies is not an easy task. If you’re struggling with how to teach good eating habits to your kids, try these ideas. You might be surprised at the results.
Modeling Healthy Habits
As with everything, children look to us to show them the way. Start the introduction to healthy food as early as possible. Involve your kids with picking out vegetables and fruit in the grocery store, or include them in the practice of growing your own food in the backyard or in a city garden plot. Let them help out in the kitchen by washing vegetables and fruit. Help them pick out a healthy recipe and involve them in the preparation of the meal.
Combating Unhealthy Cravings
For most children, cravings for sweets and salty snacks are inevitable. Since our tastebuds are strongly acclimated to fat, salt and sugar, you can try using lemon, garlic, hot sauce or vinegar to increase the flavor of healthy foods. As your kids get used to eating healthy food, the better it starts to taste.
Healthy, After-School Snack Ideas
Feed your child’s craving for a crunchy, salty snack with a bag of plain popcorn. Add flavor by topping with garlic powder, cinnamon sugar, basil or some parmesan cheese. For something sweet, try creating a homemade yogurt parfait. Layer vanilla yogurt with strawberries or blueberries, and top with granola (sweetened with fruit or low in sugar).
The Main Idea
The trick is to make healthy eating habits seem as normal as possible. Approach healthy food in a calm, relaxed way. Allow your kids to have small amount of junk food throughout the week or on the weekend. The goal is have healthy food in your home and easily accessible to your kids. If you don’t make a big deal about it, chances are it won’t become a power struggle when it’s time to eat veggies at dinner.
Contact Western Wake Pediatrics for More Nutrition Tips
A healthy diet and proper nutrition is important for optimal growth and development. To learn more about how you can help your kids incorporate healthy eating habits, contact Western Wake Pediatrics.
Western Wake Pediatrics offers nutritional counseling in Cary, Chapel Hill, Holly Springs, Durham, Wake Forest, Raleigh, Fuquay-Varina, Apex and surrounding locations