Do you have an eye on your child 24/7? The truth is you don’t. As much as we want to have our kids in your sights we can’t. This becomes a hurdle when it comes to our child’s nutrition. What they eat at school may not always be the food you want them to consume. Sure, you pack them lunch or snacks but then again you’re not guaranteed that they will eat it. Back in grade school my friends and I would exchange snacks and lunch. For one, not everything we have in our lunch box is something we want to eat. Likewise, when I get to have lunch money instead of packed lunch, I did not really spend it on nutrition and healthy foods. So what should a mom or dad do to keep their children healthy?
Now that I am a parent I have the same worries my parents had when I was still younger. But this does not mean I will succumb to mere hopeful wishes. In fact, there are some steps any parent can take in order to ensure that children eat properly. Feeding nutritious food to children should not be left to chances and hopes.
Prepare healthy snacks and lunch
Children require a different set of food with specific nutritive value. What they eat must provide their basic nutrition needs. Just remember, children’s health requirements are different from an adult. It is best to consult your pediatrician or a dietitian so that you know what your child needs.
In addition, it would be prudent to check out a variety of food choices for children so they won’t get too tired of eating the same things. Likewise, this can help you budget and prepare the meals of your kid since there are fruits and vegetables that are in season or off season.
Lastly, keeping a record of your child health and nutrition status will help you and your child create a habit of eating properly.
One important key to making your child eat nutritious food is to package it in an enticing way. Now, depending on the age of your child, you may want to use special wrappers, tumblers and even lunch box to put the food in. Furthermore, it is important to match the design and packaging to what you child likes. Obviously you don’t use pink flower wrappers or sandwich bags for your child who likes cars or robots. Just imagine how he or she would feel opening something that can embarrass him/her. Also, add a little surprise every now and then. You may want to slip in a sticker or toy as a reward for finishing the food.
Presenting the food in a fun way can help keep your child focused on eating healthy stuff. After all, it is you who should prepare it.
Another important part securing your child’s nutrition especially at school is to provide him or her with the adequate portion of healthy food. We all know the Go, Grow and Glow food groups. It is best to provide your child the right amount for each one. Of course there are so many diet plans out there that say how much to give. Before you get drawn to these diet programs and food regimens, just talk to our pediatrician first.
Have you tasted hospital food? I had my share of these tasteless but supposedly nutrition meals. However, don’t be alike the nearest hospital and give your child food that will ruin his or her taste buds. Instead, experiment of different tastes. This sensation is best explored with different food choices. Likewise, combine different textures just to make it more interesting for the child.
Keep it fresh and unique
It is imperative to keep your child always eager to know what’s inside of his or her lunch box. You can do this by having new and nutritious food choices. Anyone can get tired of eating the same food every day. Even if it is creatively presented it gets boring. With children, having something new makes a lot of difference. A simple twist to the usual can have a profound effect.
Some suggestions to keep it fresh and unique
- Add a new twist to the same food by cutting them differently
- Mix and match different food
- Have a small “secret” food container for that special treat for your child
- Let your child write a wish list of foods that he/she wants to try and give it as a surprise
Healthy habits don’t just pop up one day and stay there forever. Instead, it takes time and commitment. This is why parents are so important in instilling positive and healthy eating habits in children. Starting early on eating healthy will help ensure that you child learns why they should eat healthy, what is healthy or not and more importantly, acquire the discipline to follow through.
As part of your role, parents need to discuss the good and the bad. This includes habits and behaviors that will help keep them strong. Moreover, it includes the possible effects of not being a healthy eater.
Children will be curious and will be swayed by what they see around them. The gimmicks and advertisements will make them want to try different stuff. Their classmates may be eating something different from what they are used to. The school may not have a sound healthy eating program. The fact is, you don’t have a 24/7 eye on your child. As your child grows, his/her spheres will grow wider. Thus, the influences your child may get will become wider and more varied. Starting early will help in strengthening the foundations so that when they face the larger world – let’s say snack time with classmates; they have a better sense of what being healthy is all about.
We are what we eat. I’ve heard this many times before. Exploring taste and textures are part of life’s pleasures. But we must always put the bigger perspective in mind. What we put in our bodies today will affect us in the future. This goes the same with our children. Parents must advocate healthy eating in children.
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