Leading a very busy lifestyle should not be a reason not to sit down with the family and share a meal together. After all, healthy eating habits start at home. You want to teach your kids the importance of eating well-balanced meals.
Statistics show that over 13 million children in the US are either overweight or obese, causing serious health problems that were not seen until adulthood like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
To overcome this epidemic, parents should be there to guide their children when it comes to eating the right food. But how do you teach your kids to start eating healthy? How do you encourage them to control their consumption of junk foods and make them finish their greens? Consider these tips:
Don’t Let Kids Eat by Themselves
As mentioned above, meal time is the best time to bond with your children. Make it a habit to share meals as a family. When you’re sitting down together and eating, there’s less chance of your kids sneaking unhealthy foods like sweet or salty treats on the table and giving their greens to Fido.
Do the Cooking With Your Kids
Cooking is fun when you let the kids help out. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about what sort of healthy ingredients go into the food they eat. You can let them know the importance of proper eating in a fun, lighthearted way. You can also get your kids to tell you what sort of food they want to eat. This way you will get an idea how to incorporate healthy ingredients into their favorite food.
Using Healthier Substitutes as Flavorings
We’re all guilty of using unhealthy flavorings to foods and then passing them off as healthy. Salads laden with bacon, fried chicken slivers, and mayonnaise or ranch dressing aren’t as healthy as using vinaigrette to flavor the greens. Basting butter on grilled meat, poultry, and fish isn’t as healthy as using olive oil and lemon juice to flavor grilled foods, and so on. You can boost the nutrient value of the food you serve by actively replacing unhealthy flavorings with healthy ones.
The same thing goes for frying. You want to replace unhealthy oils with healthy ones. For example, rather than use refined vegetable oil, try using canola, sunflower, or olive oil instead.
Minimize Sugary or Salty Snacks
Snacking isn’t so bad as long as you teach your kids which kinds of snacks are good for them! If your kids love salty or savory snacks, then look for healthier alternatives to burgers or pizzas. Better yet, make your own burgers or pizza using wholesome ingredients! If they love ice cream, make sorbets, shakes, or smoothies using fresh fruits and low-fat milk. They are just as delicious but without the empty calories.
Use Less Salt
Discover creative ways of cooking that will lessen the use of salt. Certain types of spices and herbs work great to enhance flavor. If you’re grocery shopping, make it a habit to check the sodium content—among other things—at back of the food labels.