There are many reasons why it is vital for our children to maintain a healthy diet. Often times it is easier said than done. As a mother, I have first-hand experience with this. Our son is a big fan of fast food; he is very good for business.
We do, however, find creative ways to strike a balance between eating what are “fun kids foods” with what is really a healthy diet.
It starts with educating our children. While as adults, we understand why sugar is not the first or best choice, it is not enough to just tell our children no, but explaining why helps puts things in perspective.
Start by educating your children about a few basic reasons why eating healthy is an important part of their life. These reasons are:
- To maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity.
- Refrain from sugar consumption; this helps with healthy teeth.
- To facilitate normal brain development. Some foods includes: eggs, fish, greens, and apples to name a few.
- To promote healthy bone formation.
- To develop and maintain a healthy immune system. Some foods that are good for boosting your child’s immune system include yogurt, fruits and vegetables. These are all good foods that will be of great benefit to your child’s immune system and will be a warrior against the flu and that horrible ear infection. Think about it: No more trips to the doctor unless it’s for a wellness visit.
I know what you’re thinking, “Rashida it is easy for you to say, but how do I get my child to eat all these ‘healthy foods’?”
Children like to have fun. Believe it or not they will express interest in anything that is fun for them. It helps to know your child’s likes and dislikes, and try to incorporate these foods in a fun and engaging way.
- For instance, is your child an outdoor kind of person?
A child gets really excited about the idea of going fishing, catching their own fish, and coming home and preparing it for dinner. It is an exciting experience; it is always a winner in our household. Give it a try. It is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child as well.
- A trip to McDonald’s if you must, doesn’t have to be all about fried foods. You have more bargaining tools in that situation than you may think. Make a deal with your child that certainly they may go to McDonalds, but the meal will be salad, fruits and water.
It’s ok, don’t be so depressed. You can add an ice-cream cone for a fun balance. Your kiddo just got their calcium of the day.
Depending on your child’s age, if they are anything like our son, they are more interested in the playhouse anyway!
- Homework hour can be fun and a great opportunity to serve your agenda of healthy foods for your kiddo. Let’s say your child has math homework. Get out an apple or two, and incorporate them into your child’s math sum. One of our son’s favorite things to do is to use apples to do his math homework when working fractions. He is excited about cutting his apples in ¾, 2/3 or his favorite ½. The best part is that he gets to eat the apples as he goes. Your kiddo may just love this; see what happens.
- Start a vegetable garden. Your child will astound you with his interest in the process. They will be excited about putting on their little fancy gardening gloves, going shopping for their tools, and selecting the types of vegetables that they want to grow. Some easy to grow vegetables include tomatoes, lettuce, beans and squash. This is a fun, easy task that will bring you and your child a lot of joy.
- Acquaint your child with home economics. It is important to instill independence in your child, and a class of home economics is a great start. Get out your blender and teach your child how to make a smoothie. This is another great hands-on experience for your child. All in this activity, you are able to attain many lessons and objectives, including teaching your child the importance of measurement, learning how to clean up, and using various ingredients properly, all while enjoying a nice healthy fruit smoothie in the end.
Follow these simple and fun steps, and you are off to a great and healthy start for you and your child.