Lisa Diaz, Diabetes Manager, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) empty
calories from sugars and fats contribute to 40 percent of the calories
ingested by children ages two to 18 every day. A recent CDC study also
indicated that childhood obesity is still on the rise. These numbers shed
light on the importance of parents having conversations with their kids
about making healthy food choices, especially when kids are in the position
of making those food choices when mom or dad isn’t around, such
as the school cafeteria or play date with friends.
As parents, you can do your very best to have your children eat healthy
and nutritious foods at home, but what happens when they are left to choose
Try some of these tips and tricks when teaching your kids about the importance
of nutritious and energizing meals:
Eat breakfast. On the run? Grab some quick and healthy breakfast foods
on the way out the door that way your kids aren’t tempted to pick
up a pastry on-the-go. Offer a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread,
fruit cup with yogurt or overnight oats in a cup.
Get creative. Have fun in the kitchen when at home with your kids and enlist
their help to toss the salad, wash the veggies, organize the fruit platter
and crack the eggs. This will not only serve as quality family time, it
will also show your kids how fun it is to cook.
Model moderation. Show your children that it’s okay to have a treat
now and then, as long as you’re eating a balanced, nutritious diet
most of the time. If your child chooses a burger and fries one day for
school lunch, encourage them to check out the salad bar the next day.
Sit down together. While preparing meals together is a great way to share
healthy nutrition tips with your kids, eating together is also a great
way to show your growing children that you enjoy the food prepared too.
After all, if they see you doing something, they are more likely to repeat
it. Sit down at the dinner table, learn more about your family, and show
your kids that eating healthy is a lifestyle.
It is critical for parents to instill healthy eating habits into their
children to reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity and a variety of other
health problems. A solid foundation at home can lead to healthier choices
being made while your child is at school.