While adults everywhere are shifting toward a more health-conscious approach to diet, parents are left with many questions as to what is the correct approach to take in improving their children’s diets. Obesity rates are on the rise, and many children eat too much junk food, never mind eating fruits and vegetables regularly. Therefore, it becomes essential that parents take an active role in helping children to make healthy dietary choices. There are plenty of ways to do so without forcing kids to load up on brussels sprouts and broccoli.
· Fill the house with healthy snacks. One of the easiest ways to start is by setting a good example for children in the foods that you enjoy. Make sure that a well-balanced array of fruits and vegetables is part of the mix, as these foods are rich in the nutrients and vitamins that bodies need to maintain health and fight illnesses. Leave a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter so that apples, pears or oranges can be snacked on after school or when kids have the munchies. By offering healthy options over sugary and fattening snacks, kids may be more likely to kick old habits of looking to sweets to satisfy cravings.
· Monitor drinks as well as food. While many people are quick to blame snacks as the main culprit in a healthy diet, some fail to recognize that beverages – particularly soda and sugary soft drinks – can play a major role. A single can of soda typically contains 150 calories, and when three or more cans are consumed during the day, that equates to as many calories as an entire meal. You may not be aware that many juice drinks on the market today aren’t any better than the sugary sodas and sports drinks that many parents wouldn’t dream of packing in a school lunchbox – with many brands only containing a minimal amount of real fruit juice.
However, kids heading off to school with a boxed drink can enjoy varieties that are healthy – if parents ensure that the only juice boxes that they send their kids off to school with are made from 100% pure fruit juice.
· Keep track of diet away from the home. Many parents think that monitoring what their children eat away from home is a lost cause and worry that what children eat outside the home might be negating the healthy diets they enjoy under their folks’ watchful eyes. However, parents can take steps to ensure their children eat just as healthy away from the home as they do inside it.
Lunch is one of the biggest areas of concern for parents when it comes to children’s diets. In lieu of handing out money each day for typically unhealthy school cafeteria fare, parents should pack leftovers from the previous night’s dinner for their children. Leftover chicken cutlets, for instance, can be made into healthy and delicious chicken wraps for the next day’s lunch.
There are many unhealthy food temptations lurking at school, whether vending machine snacks, or fattening cafeteria food selections. That is why it is important to send kids to school with a healthy lunch, one that includes a juice box with 100 percent fruit juice.
· Encourage activity. While a well-rounded diet is a start to a kid’s health plan, parents should realize that exercise is also an important component. Encourage your kids to engage in physical activity each day, whether playing with the dog in the yard, starting a pick-up game of whiffle ball with the neighborhood kids or participating in a team sporting activity sponsored by school. At least 30 to 60 minutes of sustained activity each day can ensure a healthy weight and peak physical condition.
To learn more about encouraging healthy food habits in your children, go to www.appleandeve.com.