Family eating patterns play a role in the eating habits children have as they move
into adulthood. All parents want their children to grow to be healthy adults.
Developing good eating habits at an early age will help reduce the risk of
developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity later in life. At times it may
seem difficult to provide healthy food choices. With a little planning and involving
your children you can provide healthy snacks and meals for your family.
Plan snacks and meals
Planning your meals and snacks in advance can do a lot to prevent moments of
desperation when your kids are asking for a snack or you have no idea what to do
for dinner. Planning meals and snacks and cooking at home may seem like a
daunting task but once you get into the routine you may find that it will help reduce
the stress of trying to figure out what to eat each day. Preparing meals at home
should also save you money since it is less expensive than dining out.
Sit down once a week and plan out your meals and snacks. If your children are old
enough they can join you in the planning process. Ask them what healthy foods
they enjoy. Once you have an idea of what meals and snacks you would like for the
week prepare of list of items you need from the grocery store. Having a list and
sticking to it will help you only buy the healthy items you need. If you bring your
children along to the grocery store you may want to read these tips on how to
make it through the store without going crazy. When you include your kids in the
process it will help them feel like they are part of the decision making.
Eat Meals Together
There are benefits to eating meals together as a family. If you involve your kids in
the preparation process they can learn to appreciate the value of food and the work
that goes into preparing it. Children who eat at least 5 times a week with their
family are at a lower risk of developing poor eating habits and weight problems.
Snacks are okay
Snacking is a good thing as long as it is healthy. Scheduling snacks can help a child
learn healthy eating habits. A couple of strategic snack times between meals can
help to maintain steady blood sugar levels. Cutting out snacks may cause blood
sugar levels to drop and may encourage overeating at mealtime. Here are some
examples of healthy snacks for kids.
• Frozen berries, grapes, and strawberries
• Fresh fruit and nut butter
• Mini veggie pizzas (homemade on whole grain bread or crust)
• Vegetable crudités and low-fat dip (you can whip up an easy dip with fat-free
Greek yogurt, powdered Italian dressing, and a little vegetable or tomato
• Whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese
• Plain, low-fat yogurt with a little raw honey
• Fruit and plain yogurt
• Hard-boiled egg
• Nuts and seeds
Notice that there are no chips or sweets on the snack list.
Involve your children in the process from planning to preparation. Allow them to
have healthy snacks. Use these opportunities to talk about healthy eating choices.
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