Tips for Parents
Fostering healthy eating habits among children poses many challenges, especially with picky eaters. Here are some tips to ensure your child gets the nutrition he or she needs:
- HAVE BREAKFAST: Kids should be encouraged to eat breakfast regularly. Even if time is short, nutritious, on-the-go foods like cereal bars and fruit or milk, are good options. Research shows that a good breakfast leads to better academic performance and improved school behavior. It is also important year-round, so that kids get the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly.
- FIND ROLE MODELS: Parents and teachers are important role models for their kids when it comes to healthy habits. While parents and teachers usually control when kids eat, the kids themselves usually determine how much they eat. By setting a healthy eating example, kids are more likely to make good decisions themselves.
- GET PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Exercise is vital for healthy children. Programs that encourage movement are getting more attention and there is growing interest in "walk to school" programs. Kids are often eating too many calories and not burning them off, which is one factor in the escalating rates of childhood obesity and other troubling medical problems.
- MODERATION IS KEY: A national survey revealed that moms are more concerned with individual ingredients than their children's overall caloric intake. This is troubling as total calories typically determine weight gain.