We have all heard and read probably a thousand times about the importance of healthy eating. We have been encouraged time and time again to trade fast food meals for meals full of fruits and vegetables. For most of us, healthy eating is a matter of changing the habits we have carried for years. How amazing would it be if we did our children a favor and helped them to establish healthy eating patterns from the time of their birth?
I’m confident that the generation behind us would grow up much healthier and in much less need of major diet or fitness alterations in their adult years. The more we teach our children about the importance of healthy eating and the more we provide healthy options for them to eat, the better off they will be.
One of the biggest reasons that parents do not take the time to provide healthy meals for their children is lack of time. I mean really, who has the time to prepare a home-cooked meal filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains every night? My suggestion to all busy parents is to realize how important the health of your children is. Only as you begin to make their health a priority will you fight for ways to provide healthy eating for them.
Establishing healthy eating patterns for children can be as simple as making some easy substitutions in your grocery shopping and menu planning. Trade whole milk for low-fat or skim milk and only get reduced fat yogurts or ice creams. Go for whole-grain crackers and bread rather than filling your cart or their lunch boxes with potato chips or unhealthy snack crackers. Start their day off with healthy eating by only purchasing cereals and oatmeal that are low in sugar and high in essential vitamins and minerals.
Healthy eating is a matter of making better food choices. The next time your children beg you to get them fast food, do so only under the condition that they must choose from the healthier chicken or salad items on the menu. Look for ways to compromise as you bring healthy eating principles into your family. As a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure that your children are developing healthy eating habits. There is no better time to do this than now. Your kids will thank you one day when they are still eating healthy as adults.