You can help your children in maintaining a healthy weight and growth by developing healthy eating habits in them. This can be done effectively by modeling such behaviours in yourself. The eating habits that your children develop when they are young can be of great benefit for them. It would help them in maintaining a healthy lifestyle when they reach their adulthood.
The healthcare providers assess the height, weight, and BMI of children and can provide some useful insights. They can tell you whether your child needs to lose or gain weight. They can also suggest dietary changes if they’re needed. Among the most important aspects of eating healthy are cutting down the amount of fat and sugar.
Controlling the quantity of food intake is also of great importance. If the children are given low-fat or non-fat dairy products, the daily fat intake can be controlled. Foods prepared using poultry can also be beneficial. The key is to remove skin, include lean cuts of meats, and consume cereals or whole-grain breads. Children must be given fruit and veggies as snacks.
A registered dietitian can give you the appropriate directions on how to choose and prepare foods for your family. You must make sure that you are not placing your overweight child on a restrictive diet. Here are a few other ways to develop healthy eating habits in children:
1. Instead of dictating foods, guide the choices of your family
Make a wider range of healthy foods available at home. This would help your kids learn how to make healthier choices in food. All the unhealthy choices such as soda and chips must be left at the grocery store. Another good thing to remember is that water must be served with the meals.
2. Encourage slow eating
When the children eat slowly, they can detect hunger and fullness in a better way. You must ask your child to wait a minimum of 15 minutes to see if they are still hungry. This must be done before offering a second serving of the meal. The brain would have sufficient time to register fullness if it is given time.
It must be kept in mind that the second serving must be smaller than the first one. You can load the second serving with more veggies, if possible.
3. Eat your meals together as a family as often as possible
You can make your mealtimes pleasant with sharing and conversations. Mealtimes are not for arguments and scolding. If the atmosphere during a meal is unpleasant, children try to eat faster to leave as soon as possible. As a result, they begin associating eating with stress.
4. Involve your child in buying of food and preparation of meals
By involving children in buying food, you can teach them about nutrition. You can provide your children with a feeling of accomplishment by involving them in the process of preparing meals. Such activities would give you an idea about the food preferences of your children. Besides, they would be more willing to try the foods they have prepared.
5. Plan for snacks
Constant snacking results in overeating, but snacks can be planned at specific times of the day. This would make snacks a part of your child’s nutritious diet without spoiling his or her appetite during mealtimes. Snacks must be made as nutritious as possible. Your child must not be deprived of some occasional cookies or chips, especially during parties and other social events.