According the American Heart Association, one in three children and teenagers in the United States are overweight or obese. With childhood obesity becoming a top health concern, emphasizing the consumption of green vegetables and other colorful foods in your household is more important than ever. Be sure to monitor your child’s eating patterns and help them develop healthy habits that carry over into adulthood.
Here’s how you can ensure your child develops healthy eating patterns.
Say no to junk food
Fast food meals should be few and far between. Try not to introduce fast food to your child at a very young age. In addition, do not use this type of food as a reward. Keep the amount of junk food and sugary products in your house to a minimum. Teach your child the benefits of choosing a piece of fruit, for example, over a bag of chips.
Involve your children
A great way to get your children involved is to study a healthy food group chart and go through your kitchen together. Weed out the junk food and replace it with healthier options. If your children are involved in the choices that are made, they are more likely to cooperate with these healthy decisions. Make it a team effort. Make sure your children feel included and that their opinions about what to stock in kitchen are taken into consideration.
Shop at the grocery store together
Don’t be afraid to take your child grocery shopping with you. Before you go, make a grocery list—one your child has helped you with. Ask them to help you pick out colorful veggies and fruit in the produce aisle to make shopping more interesting for them. They can also be “in charge” of the list by carrying it and crossing off each item as they put it in the cart.
Make cooking a family affair
Make healthy, balanced meals together. Start off by giving each child a certain task for the recipe. Not only does this teach them how to cook healthy meals, but it lets you bond together as a family in a new way. Just be sure to take all the necessary precautions before allowing your children to help in the kitchen.
Pack school lunches
While healthy school lunch programs are out there, one way to go the extra mile is to pack their lunches. Give your children choices such as a fruit and veggies in addition to their sandwich. Bringing a healthy, home-cooked meal to school is a great way to keep your child’s eating habits on track.
You may not immediately realize the impact of poor eating habits until you see changes in your child’s development. If you’re concerned about the health or weight of your child, schedule an appointment with one of our Oviedo pediatricians today at Family First Pediatrics. Visit our website or call us today at (407) 335-4760.
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