• Health Awareness Series: October 2018 - Child Nutrition

    Date: 10/15/2018 07:29:45 PM

    Helping your child eat healthy foods has always been a challenge. Here are some tips to help.

    Make mealtime family time

    Mealtime is an occasion to be together as a family, a chance to talk with each other and, especially, a time to explore new and interesting foods.

    To help make your meals successful:

    • Make meals together a routine and give everyone a task.
    • Invite your child to help plan the meal.
    • Keep mealtimes calm and friendly.
    • Let your children invite friends over for dinner.

    Get kids involved

    Talk to your children about what to have for dinner or what to pack for lunch. Let them help you choose a balanced meal, shop for the food, and help you prepare dinner or make their lunches. Getting them involved will teach them how to make good choices on their own.

    Make healthy choices when you buy food:

    • Have healthy food, like yogurt, cheese, fruits and vegetables, to snack on.
    • Send healthy snacks to school.
    • Plan your meals.
    • Serve water and low- fat milk instead of sugary drinks like juice or sodas.
    • Read food labels.
    • Avoid fast food.

    Don’t fight over food

    It is easy to get into a battle over food. Give your children some control over what they eat. Allow them to choose what they want to eat from what is on their plate. And if they say they are full, don’t force them to eat more.

    Here are some helpful guidelines:

    • Eat meals and snacks at about the same time every day.
    • Don’t force kids to “clean their plate.” Let them stop eating when they feel full.
    • Don’t bribe or reward your children with food. Don’t use dessert as a prize for eating the meal.
    • Use hugs or praise to show your love, not food.

    Be a role model

    Send your children the right message by eating well yourself. Teach your children to stop eating when they feel full. You can say something like, “I feel full so I’m not going to eat anymore.”

    SOURCES:

    • KidsHealth.org, “Kid and Food: 10 Tips for Parents”, “Healthy Eating”, “Family Meals”: www.kidshealth.org
    • FamilyDoctor.org, “Nutrition: Healthy Eating for Kids”: www.familydoctor.org
    • Purdue University, Consumer and Family Sciences, “Nutrition Fact Sheet: Make Mealtime Family Time”: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/CFS/CFS-748-4-W.pdf
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