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.
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!