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Healthy eating during childhood

Keep kids fueled to power through the day

Healthy Eating During Childhood

Creating healthy eating habits early in life is a great way to help children grow into healthy adults. It’s important to practice good nutrition yourself to set a good example, since kids will follow your lead. Here are some ways you can encourage children to eat healthy.

Five ways to help kids make healthy food choices

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, here are a few easy ways to help children build healthy eating habits:

  1. Eat breakfast. Include protein – eggs, nuts, seeds or Greek yogurt – with breakfast, instead of just eating cereal. Help children make their own breakfast smoothies to boost their confidence and give them a little control over their meals.
  2. Eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies. Offer fruits and veggies at every meal and as snacks. All types of fruit and veggies – fresh, frozen or canned – are great choices. Most children who are older than 4 need at least 1-1/2 cups of fruit and 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups of vegetables a day.
  3. Limit screen time at meals. Encourage mindful eating by turning off electronics during meals. This helps children focus on the food in front of them and their hunger levels.
  4. Rethink your drink. Offer plain or flavored waters or low-fat milk at meals and snacks. Soda, juice and energy drinks have a lot of added sugar and displace valuable nutrients, which can cause health problems over time.
  5. Avoid restrictive diets. Diets can promote the idea that certain foods are good or bad, which may put a child at risk of developing an eating disorder later in life and lead to feelings of low self-esteem. Additionally, some research suggests that children who diet may end up weighing more than their peers who don’t.

Plan ahead

One of the easiest ways to help kids eat healthy meals and snacks is to make sure that they always have healthy options available. Keep foods like apple slices and carrot sticks on hand for on-the-go snacking. You can even portion things ahead of time and have healthy foods ready to go.

Posted: August 31, 2021