In honor and celebration of “Healthy Kids” Day, I wanted to dedicate today’s posting for promoting healthy lifestyles for the kids of today for a healthier tomorrow.
I thought this was pretty cute:
One of my career goals (I have quite a few, by the way) is to promote healthier dietary habits for children to help prevent or decrease the rate of preventable diseases. Yes, I would like to teach a little bit within school systems; however, it is the parents who I really want to teach and consult with – they are the primary source of information and forming healthy habit for their children. Children learn from their parents first, then gain information from their peers and teachers. The sad part is that many parents are misinformed, or are just not informed at all about how to carry out healthy diets and lifestyles.
Things to keep in mind:
- Do not give in to purchasing cute and commercialized snacks / cereals – these are LOADED with refined sugars, and little to no fiber
- Eat meals as a family. Studies show that children are more family oriented when he or she spends their meal-time as a family. This is more than likely because it helps to promote communication between parent and child
- Make sure he or she gets regular physical and dental check-ups!! This is the best way to catch a disorder or disease at its premature stages.
- Do not reward your child’s accomplishments with sweets. Find more creative and healthier ways to reward your child’s “job well done” such as a trip out to play mini golf, or shopping.
- Invite your child / teenager to join you in cooking/baking. This can help your child to gain skills in preparing fresh food items.
- Prepare your child’s snacks and meals as much as possible, and try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible
- ALWAYS have fresh chopped veggies and fruit to snack on. This is a BIG one, because once boredom hits, children flock to the refrigerator for the most convenient snack. They will be more likely to have fruit or veggies if they are already prepared for them. Also, most children will only eat their veggies with some kind of dip (I was one of those kids). Try to be creative in making healthy and homemade dips. The internet is FULL of recipes to choose from, so their taste buds will never get bored!
- Play with your kid!! Yes, these are the days where one must work all hours of the day to provide for their families – but common, let’s take a break every now and then to get up and get active. Your child will benefit by getting their minimum daily physical activity, and you will have a great mental clarity break. Make it a daily habit, to play a round of soccer or basketball after dinner before it gets dark.
- Try to maintain a diet low in saturated fat (no more than 20g. per day), low in sodium (the daily limit is 2,300 mg per day), and low in sugar (try to keep it to a minimum of 25-30g of added sugar per day).
- When dining out – keep clear of the fast food restaurants. They provide nothing but fake flavor enhancers, cheap quality meat, and fat laden food items.
- Keep meals as fresh as possible. Use as little condiments, and as much fresh veggies and herbs as possible to enhance the flavor, and not tack on loads of saturated fat, sodium, and empty calories.
Make sure you remind your child what is balanced and healthy versus unrealistic and unhealthy – especially when it comes to body image. Make sure your child is aware of unhealthy eating habits, and in some cases habits of not eating, and the consequences that can follow along with this. And most importantly, make sure you child knows that he or she is beautiful, no matter what shape.
Yes I know that list is pretty long; however, as a parent, or soon-to-be-parent, it is in your best interest to gain knowledge on basic nutrition. You are your child’s best chance to live a healthy life – the more accurately informed you are in nutrition, the the more you can understand how to emphasize healthy eating habits. We ought to put our best foot forward to enrich the lives and habits of today’s youth, for a healthier tomorrow.