There are so many things pulling our kids toward junk food these days. There are ads on television, vending machines in schools, and alluring displays of candy at the front of almost every store. How is a parent to compete? Is it possible to teach your children to eat right?
Of course you can. It takes education, creativity and patience. With these three basics you can teach your family about good nutrition and help them learn to love healthy food!
– To properly teach your family about good nutrition you need to be educated. Then, you can educate your family as well. Now we aren’t talking about getting a college degree in nutrition, but you need to familiarize yourself with the basics of good health and the nutrition we need to achieve it. Be aware of the food pyramid guidelines, basic calorie counting and portion size.
It is alarming how fast the problem of childhood obesity is growing, but if you take a look at what we consider to be a portion it is no surprise. Teach your family that a double sized hamburger with large fries and a large drink is not an average portion size. Once we have a good understanding of true portion size it will be easier for the entire family to cut back.
– This is where the kids really learn. You could lecture them all day about the benefits of a healthy diet, but they are visual learners. Make the lesson fun and interactive and you will make an impression. You can find some fun children’s books about nutrition and let the kids act it out like a play.
Use fun teaching tools to show them the difference between what the fast food joints would have us believe is a portion what is truly a portion. Perhaps take some clay and make a hamburger that is super sized and one that is a true portion size. Let the kids try and guess the calorie and fat difference. For a really good visual measure out the fat in a super sized hamburger meal using lard. If they see the amount of fat as fat it will make your family really think!
– You may have just taught them a great lesson on nutrition using all kinds of great visuals, but your son still goes and gets a candy bar at the store. Don’t give up! Eventually the things you teach will kick in and stick. We all can look back on the things our parents taught us and wonder why we didn’t listen then. It is the same now, they will pick up a few things here and there but it will still be there in the back of their mind.
You can ensure they are getting good nutrition at home by offering plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks and with your meals. If you have a jar of cookies next to the fruit bowl, kids will go for the cookies. But if all the snack choices are healthy they will soon develop a taste for bananas and apples instead of chocolate and caramel!
It is up to parents to teach their children about the basics of good nutrition. We can fight childhood obesity and poor nutrition at home. Learn about it, teach it and then practice what you preach. Your kids will be healthier for it!