Here at Son Shine Kitchen, we love our desserts. But, at the same time, it’s also important to teach your children healthy eating habits. It all starts at home and starts with you as parents. Our boys are always in the kitchen, and always watching.
Today, I have a guest post for you from the wonderful Gabriel! He has put together a list of tips and ideas for healthy eating with your family. We already do some of this in our house, but I also learned a few things as well.
During the summer, kids may lounge at the refrigerator all day, using boredom as an excuse to eat more. However, that can be a problem. The CDC states that obesity prevalence for kids is nearly 14 percent for kids between the ages of 2 and 5 and over 18 percent for 6- to 11-year-olds!
Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. Now is the perfect time to improve your family’s eating habits. Here’s how you can eat better before the summer is over.
What Foods Your Child Should Eat – and Avoid
Keeping children healthy and fit with the right foods is important, but food can also impact their brains and their mental health. Help your child avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors and food dyes, and other processed foods. Instead, they should eat foods that will build their brains. This will help improve their focus, attention, mood, and sleep patterns and may also improve their mental health.
Psychology Today recommends these brain-building foods:
- Fatty fish and lean proteins like turkey and beans.
- Fresh produce, especially leafy greens.
- Nuts, dried fruit, hummus, nut butter, and granola for snacks.
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles.
It’s also important to eat foods that support your gut health, which is linked to everything from your immune system to your mood. Although this probably sounds complicated, it’s actually a lot easier than you might realize. For example, dark chocolate, pickles, yogurt, onions, and wild salmon are just a few of the foods you can add to your menu that will help improve the health of your gut.
Meal planning allows you to ensure that your meals for the week meet some basic requirements:
- They contain the balanced nutrients your child needs.
- You can plan “quick” meals or leftovers for busy days.
- You have the budget for everything you need.
If you’re feeling intimidated, here is some advice on how to get organized. For example, you can keep a meal journal to give you inspiration going forward. Be sure that your family liked these recipes! Additionally, let your kids participate and select dishes they’d like to eat as well. You can always create a healthy version of what they like.
Let Your Children Shop
Bring your children to the grocery store. This is an important life skill for them to learn, and it will help them to understand how to make healthy choices. You can even give them a budget and allow them to choose the ingredients for the meal. Verywell Family has a list of learning activities to teach grocery shopping skills to kids of every age.
Once you have your meal plan and ingredients, you can do mass meal prep in one day. This will make life a lot easier for you. However, you must make sure you have enough containers for storage and space as well. Read these tips on how to get started from Meal Prep Haven.
It’s easy enough to get kids involved with meal prep if they have chopping or cutting skills. If not, there are other ways they can get involved in food prep. Little kids can mix and learn how to measure ingredients properly. Read this advice on how to teach your kids to cook by age.
Research has shown that eating together as a family often can lead to better grades, greater happiness, and better family relationships – and that is worth the effort! Read more at GoodNet.org.
It’s not hard to help your kids learn healthy eating habits. Allow them to join you in the supermarket, in the kitchen, and at the table, so they can learn life skills, understand how to make healthy choices, and avoid a health crisis as they grow up.
Gabriel Patel enjoys writing about health and wellness. He co-founded healthwellwise.com with a group of friends who share the desire to help people live happy, healthy lives.