Nutrition is vital to the healthy development of a child.. It is essential for parents to create healthy eating habits at an early age. A great way to ensure that your child has a healthy diet is to include at least 3 out of 4 of the food groups. These foods include vegetables, fruits, grains and protein. The unlimited food options children have at their disposal can make it hard for children to decipher healthy food choices from unhealthy options.
Did you know that empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40% of daily calories for children and adolescents, aged 2-18 years old? Parents who teach their children how to make good food choices reduce the risk of their child experiencing health issues as they age. Parents can decrease their child’s risk of experiencing obesity and instill healthy eating habits which will be beneficial for a lifetime. According to the 2020 Global Nutrition report, 1 in 9 people experience malnutrition and 1 in 3 people are overweight. These statistics highlight the correlation between underpriviliged communities and their access to educational resources regarding nutrition.
A great way to help your child combat unhealthy eating is communicating what examples of healthy food choices entail. Parents should discuss the benefits of eating regularly three times a day. Kids should be taught that their bodies need food to convert to energy. Parents that allow their child to accompany them on grocery store trips teaches the child how to take steps toward making healthy food choices. Grocery store trips are great ways to teach children the skills needed to read food labels and calculate nutritional values of food. Although, it may be natural for some children to want to consume more sweets than healthy items, teaching children balance is key. Remind your child that a healthy diet consists of a variety of foods. Too much of any one food is unheallthy. The benefits of a healthy diet includes improvements in mood, maintaining a healthy weight, and preventing mental health illnesses. Children can also learn from seeing parents make healthy food choices. The old adage, “Monkey see, monkey do,” reiterates the importance of modeling what constitutes making healthy food choices. Communication and offering a variety of healthy food options is key to giving kids the power to make healthy food choices.