A Healthy Food Plan checklist for parents
APF NEWSLETTER JULY 25TH 2022
Whether you have a toddler or a teen, here are five of the best strategies to improve nutrition and encourage smart eating habits:
Family meals are a comforting ritual for both parents and kids. Children like the predictability of family meals and parents get a chance to catch up with their kids. Kids who take part in regular family meals are also:
Also, family meals are a chance for parents to introduce kids to new foods and to be role models for healthy eating.
Teens may turn up their noses at the prospect of a family meal — not surprising because they're busy and want to be more independent. Yet studies find that teens still want their parents' advice and counsel, so use mealtime as a chance to reconnect.
You might also try these tips:
What counts as a family meal? Whenever you and your family eat together — whether it's takeout food or a home-cooked meal with all the trimmings. Strive for nutritious food and a time when everyone can be there. This may mean eating dinner a little later to accommodate a teen who's at sports practice. It also can mean setting aside time on the weekends when it may be more convenient to gather as a group, such as for Sunday brunch.
Kids, especially younger ones, will eat mostly what's available at home. That's why it's important to control the supply lines — the foods that you serve for meals and have on hand for snacks.
Follow these basic guidelines:
The best way for you to encourage healthy eating is to eat well yourself. Kids will follow the lead of the adults they see every day. By eating fruits and vegetables and not overindulging in the less nutritious stuff, you'll be sending the right message.
Another way to be a good role model is to serve appropriate portions and not overeat. Talk about your feelings of fullness, especially with younger children. You might say, "This is delicious, but I'm full, so I'm going to stop eating." Similarly, parents who are always dieting or complaining about their bodies may foster these same negative feelings in their kids. Try to keep a positive approach about food.
It's easy for food to become a source of conflict. Well-intentioned parents might find themselves bargaining or bribing kids so they eat the healthy food in front of them. A better strategy is to give kids some control, but to also limit the kind of foods available at home.
Kids should decide if they're hungry, what they will eat from the foods served, and when they're full. Parents control which foods are available to their kids, both at mealtime and between meals. Here are some guidelines to follow:
Sure, eating well can be hard — family schedules are hectic and grab-and-go convenience food is readily available. But our tips can help make all five strategies part of your busy household.
If you would like further information about heatlhy eating, why not speak to one of our nutritionists? contact us on 07555 748776
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