Thursday, March 06, 2008

Parents University--Healthy Eating

Kat is hosting Parent's University. This week's topic is healthy eating...head over to her site to find links to more posts on this topic.

Healthy Eating
Obviously this is important in the age of American obesity.
As parents, we have an opportunity to teach our children healthy eating habits that they will use throughout their entire life.
The bottom line for my family is that our kids learn more by our example than they do by our words. So if we are eating healthy foods, than they want to as well.
  • We eat three meals a day with one or two small snacks in between. We limit desserts (at least until the kids are in bed--Ha ha!) and try to have them only about once a week.
  • Snacks are generally limited to fruit, vegetables, graham crackers or cheese sticks.
  • Fruit is served with every meal, and vegetables are served with lunch and dinner.
  • Everybody is expected to eat a little of everything that is served. (My kids have been raised with this rule, so now, at the ages of 4 and 3, there is no arguing about whether they like something or not. They know that they must try everything and being picky isn't allowed.) This has also been really helpful when eating at other people's houses!
  • Also I generally ask that they eat their least favorite foods first. That way they get it over with and can move on to the more preferable foods.
  • We have very few foods that are "off-limits" to the kids. That may sound strange, but we try to teach moderation. For examply, if you want fruit for dessert you can pretty much have as much as you want. But if you would rather have a piece of cake, then you will just have a very small piece.
  • I let the boys pick out our fruits and vegetables at the store (or the farmer's market in the summer). They LOVE to be able to tell their daddy which things they picked out. It has led us to try fun new recipes too!
  • My boys love to help in the kitchen too. They are more likely to want to eat things that they have helped prepare.

What do you do to help your children learn healthy eating habits? I'd love to hear your ideas!


The Secret Life of Kat said...

"They are more likely to want to eat things that they have helped prepare."

So true!

Alicia said...

Oh I love this post, I am a health nut (I probably drive my family nuts), but I really want to feed my family well. Good tips!

It is great that your boys help in the kitchen too. Alfred always helped his mom in the kitchen because he was usually the hungriest guy around and it would help the food come faster! Anyhow, it did him good and sometimes he knows more about preparing food than I do! We tag team.

My mom made one of your recipes for dinner... mmmm!

Heidi Jo said...

"What do you do to help your children learn healthy eating habits? I'd love to hear your ideas!"

read your blog.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's the sad truth that my kids eat much more healthful than Dave or me.

They were all good eaters as kids, but have become much more fussy do to their being health nuts!

I am amazed at the resources available to you today to make good choices for your little ones.
Keep up the good work!

We loved the country casserole...yummy! I had it for left-overs at lunch today :)

Grace said...

I need to get my children to eat more vegetables. They do not drink soda or eat a lot of junk food. However, with my oldest it's been more challenging to keep him on track with eating his veggies!

I totally agree with you Lisa, with the problems of child obesity, it's very important to be a good example for our children. Great ideas!

michelle f said...

I strive to feed myself and my fam (at least my kids--Rich is another story :-)) to eat well and for the most part they have some great eating habits.

Something that has worked brilliantly for me as my kids love to snack is the Only fruit or veggies rule after dinner. It mitigates sweets, even snacks in general and they get their fruit and veg quota in for the day.