My son who is 4 months old is eating pureed foods now. He is eating and liking his fruit and vegetables. I am happy about that. I know that is all he knows at this point but as he grows up, it will be more of a challenge to have him eat his fruits and vegetables and I and my husband will be responsible for that. WOW! What a challenge but maybe with planning it can be smooth. How?
At a doctor’s office, I saw a clip about healthy snacking for children. I have read information with exercise and healthy eating that snacking is okay to do but what you snack on is important. There are a lot of yummy things to snack on and definitely look and sometimes taste better than healthy food. Sometimes the unhealthy food seems “easier” to get, buy or bring. Where to start?
Start with YOU. How YOU and your spouse or significant other snack will set the tone for the rest of the family. Most women do the shopping for the family so if they want something sweet, then it is brought in the house. That is true with me at times. I have stopped that which makes it easier to snack healthier.
Have the fruits and vegetables, nuts, yogurt and other healthier (non-processed) food available in the fridge. When things are more available then they will be eaten especially when the kid is “starving”.
Remove the junk from the house so that a fresh palate can be used to taste the healthier foods which will increase the desire for it. When a person has a little bit of sugar, they do want more. I see that the same with fruit and vegetables. What you put into the body, it will crave it.
If junk food is in the house for a particular party or reason there can be a couple of options on how to handle that:
- Set no restrictions to the quantity which can help a child potentially learn his/her own personal limit for that type of food at that particular time
- Divide up in snack size zip lock bags the sweets or other junk food which helps with portion control and when that snack is done, it’s done.
- Have each child pick a particular item they want to have and will share with the family
- If it’s not a party or special occasion, set a day of the week or meal where a special treat will be eaten, as part of the family and then back on track
Encourage and model drinking water more than sodas. Sodas can taste good but not healthy at all for the body. The more water a person drinks, the healthier they are and keeping their body in a healthy functioning state.
Get active. When people are active, their body may crave more healthy foods too. So, get active as a family. Use it as time to strengthen family ties while you are getting healthy.
Have flexibility. Flexibility helps a lot. There will be times when healthy food is not brought and unhealthy food will be purchased. Enjoy it at that time and get back on track at the next meal.
Allow the kids to make their own choices when they are out and teach them how they can make healthy choices even at a restaurant.
Create a healthy environment at home which healthy food and snacking will be provided. We can not control our children’s choices out of the home but we can teach them, show them, guide them and help them so they will make better choices when they are not in our presence.
Hope these tips help you and your family become a healthier family!
© Copyright 2011 by Kelly Sanders, MFT, therapist in Rancho Cucamonga, California. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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