With many food options available to families, it can be difficult for parents and carers to make decisions about the food and drink children should be consuming. You do not need to have a degree in nutrition to raise healthy children, you and your youngsters just need to follow some simple diet guidelines.
This month sees the Christian observance of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday on March 6, a time when followers of the Christian faith across the world may partake in the self denial of treats. With childhood obesity levels and the impact of diet on adolescent behaviour and educational attainment hitting the headlines, now is an appropriate time to give childhood diets eating habits, and food a serious thought.
What is important to remember is that the responsibility lies with parents or carers, they should decide which foods to buy and when to serve them. Although children pester their parents for less nutritious foods, adults should be in charge when it comes to deciding the food stuffs which are available in the house.
Clean Plates Not Always The Way
Move away from the clean-plate notion, let children decide when they have had enough food. Eating a plate full of food does not help youngsters listen to their own bodies when they feel full, it is important that they respond to the feeling of fullness to avoid overeating.
Drink Calories Count
It is important to remember that drink calories count. Soft drinks, fruit juices and some squashes add extra calories and get in the way of good nutrition. Water and milk are the best choices for young children, or alternatively, low or no-added sugar varieties of fruit juices or squash.
Sweet Things Have A Place
Put sweets in their place, occasional ones are fine, but avoid turning dessert into the main reason for eating dinner. If dessert is considered the prize for eating dinner, children will naturally place far more value on something sweet.
Be A Food Role Model
As is the case with all activities, children do as their parents do, therefore, it is important to be a role model and eat healthy in front of impressionable youngsters. When teaching good eating habits, set the very best possible example you can – choose healthy snacks, eat at the table, and avoid skipping meals.
Lifestyle As Well As Diet
As well as the diet, it is important to think about the lifestyle that they are leading, as a result, limit TV, computer and other device time. By cutting back this time, parents avoid opportunities for their children to snack – less screen time means more activity time.
Giving Children A Start 4 Life
For more information to make more informed decisions about food choices for parents and children right from pregnancy, through birth and into parenthood to toddlers, visit: