Fri 12 Nov 2010
Check out this article below “Healthy Eating For Kids – 10 Step Guide to Improve Your Child’s Diet” from Joy Houston. She is a healthy living advocate, raw food chef, the author of The Delicious Revolution and Rocking Body Raw Food Cookbooks, and a cooking instructor specializing in incorporating alkalizing and raw foods in the lives of busy people.
Here are some practical tips from Joy on how to move our kids to healthy eating.
Healthy Eating For Kids – 10 Step Guide to Improve Your Child’s Diet
By Joy Houston
People often ask at what age they should be teaching kids to eat a healthy diet. The answer to that question is from birth. Children will model your behavior. Their preferences will be molded by what they see you eat and by what foods they are offered. It is never too early because it starts with you long before they are born. That said, it’s also never too late. It might be tougher, but they are worth it. The health of future generation relies on us, their parents, helping them to carve a path of healthy eating in a world of fast, processed food. We can do it. Here are ten steps to get you started.
1. Be the vegetable and fruit eater you wish to see in the world. By far the most influential factor in your children’s diet is watching you. Set the example by making healthy choices, not just for your body, for your children’s as well.
2. Buy ONLY what you want them to eat. Kids only eat chicken nuggets, frozen pizza, mac and cheese, potato chips, and cookies if you buy them. When these options are absent new choices are made.
3. Let them shop with you, with rules. Include them in the grocery shopping process with one rule, that they can only pick foods that are whole foods. Play the One Ingredient Game by asking them how many foods they can select for themselves and the family to enjoy that are made up of only one thing.
4. Teach them to check ingredients. If your kids can’t read, read food labels to them. If they don’t know what one of the ingredients is, chances are they shouldn’t eat it.
5. Keep healthy options on hand. Let’s face it, no kid comes running up asking for high fructose corn syrup. They might ask for juice, cookies or chips, but even these have healthier alternatives with simple ingredients lists.
6. Cook with them. Make time to cook with your kids. When they make food, they become invested in their creations being eaten it and proud to serve it to their loved ones.
7. Play a game or start a challenge. Competition motivates some kids, and its stress-free if they are competing against themselves to reach a goal. Check out Raw Food 365 for games or take the challenge with your kids.
8. Disguise the vegetables and fruits. Add mild vegetables to dishes they love; shredded zucchini in mac and cheese, or spinach in pasta sauce. Raw food recipes are amazing for incorporating veggies.
9. Serve Finger Foods. Carrot and celery sticks are a great start, but try mixing it up with foods like nachos, kabobs, and chips made of thin sliced fresh carrot or jicama.
10. Give it a whirl… One of the easiest ways to get your kids to eat more greens is to include them in their juices and smoothies. Here is a smooth tasting green juice kids love. Starting their day with alkalizing greens will help them make better choices throughout the day.
Stick with it, their health is worth it. Our children are the first generation in this nation’s history to have a shorter life expectancy than us, their parents. It is completely due to poor eating habits. We have a responsibility to teach them healthy eating no matter how irritating they are during the process.
Remember… There is a silver lining in the cloud of changing your child’s eating habit. It is a self propelling process. What that means is that once they start changing their diets and eating fresh fruits and vegetables, their cravings will start to improve.
Another interesting fact… A taste bud only lives ten days. That means that if you can get your kids to radically clean up their diets for a couple of weeks, their tastes will change. It is worth considering a special diet aimed at conditioning your child to make healthy choices. They are growing, so don’t restrict their calorie intake below their needs, but do restrict WHAT they eat to whole, unprocessed foods. Try it out as a family challenge for two weeks.
Never give up… Studies show that some children need to be exposed ten to fifteen times to a food before they eat it. Trying broccoli two or three times won’t cut it. Keep up the effort and bring foods back even when got snubbed in the past. Keep in mind that even if your kids never eat as well as you’d like them to, your efforts will impact the choices they make later in life. You are making a difference one bite at a time.