Modeling healthy eating for your kids
Children replicate what we say, do and eat. Are you making healthy choices?
Do as I say, not as I do. As parents, our job is to make certain our children grow to be healthy and happy individuals. Children learn from their environments and their first and most influential environment is at home. That is why, when it comes to building healthy eating behaviors, parents and caregivers play such an important role in that aspect of development. So how can you make sure that you’re sending healthy messages to your kids? Here are a few suggestions from Michigan State University Extension:
- Choose healthy foods for yourself. Especially for young children, they watch and imitate everything you do. Let them imitate you by eating carrots or trying the hummus they saw you eat.
- Do not demonize or forbid foods. Discuss how all foods can fit in a healthy eating plan and if there are foods you do not want your child to have, do not keep them in the house.
- Change your language: For foods we call snacks, switch to calling them treats. Treats are foods we eat once in a while and are not as healthy for our bodies. Snacks are foods good for our bodies and are important for us to get all the nutrients we need. We need snacks every day!
- Don’t forget physical activity - Make sure that you are fitting in physical activity when you can. For adults, 30 minutes most days is recommended. Find activities that your family can do together. A walk after dinner, shooting hoops at a local park or go for a family bike ride. Limit screen time (TV, computer, smartphone, etc.) for your kids and encourage them to find other activities to engage in
Be honest with yourself. Are the eating behaviors your kids see you engaging in, good enough for them too?