It’s almost impossible to get through the day without hearing or reading about childhood obesity. It seems as though every time we turn around another study is being published that links lack of proper nutrition with childhood obesity. We know that proper nutrition is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle and we do our best to offer good nutritional choices at home, but how can we reinforce healthy eating habits when our children are in school?
Outdoordaddy.org lists a few simple steps you can take to help instill healthy eating habits in your children, even when you?e not there to monitor what they eat:
- Start at Home
Eating fresh, home cooked meals is healthier than eating prepackaged and fast food. Taking the time to prepare dinner and sit down at the table to enjoy it together as a family helps reinforce the importance of what we choose to put in our bodies.
- Set the Example
We’ve all heard the old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do.” We also know that it doesn’t work. Children model their behavior after their parents. If your child sees you reaching for a crisp apple over a sugary treat, she will be more inclined to make similar choices.
- Limit TV Time
Food advertising is one of the top 10 revenue sources for commercial television stations. More than 75% of the food advertised during children’s programming was for foods that are high in fat and sugar.
- Keep Healthy Snacks Available
It’s hard to pack a lunch with fatty, processed food if it’s not in the house. Strive to keep a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy drinks such as water and natural fruit juice easily accessible.
- Get Your Child Involved
When creating lunch menus for the week, get your child involved by allowing him to select his lunch menu. You can also bring him along to the grocery store so he can pick out the items himself. By empowering your child to make his own food choices, you are fostering his independence while creating a healthy relationship with food.
- Get Creative
It’s often said that we eat with our eyes first. Most of the time, junk food is presented in enticing, colorful wrapping. A great way to combat this visual marketing is to use a Laptop Lunch box. Laptop Lunch boxes are reusable, recyclable, and dishwasher safe American-style bento boxes. These colorful compartmentalized containers are perfect for packing fun and nutritious lunches. If you can’t afford a Laptop Lunch box, another creative option is to organize food items into various sized zip lock bags and then wrap the bags in colored cellophane wrapping paper.
- Teach Moderation
A healthy diet doesn’t mean a restrictive diet. Making certain foods forbidden often increases cravings and leads to feelings of deprivation. Just like Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster learned to enjoy fruit and monitor his cookie intake, you can teach your child how to wield the power of moderation.
By encouraging good eating habits at home and in school, you can help your child create a healthy relationship with food, giving her the best opportunity to grow into a fit, confident adult.