It’s not exactly going out on a limb to say that healthy eating leads to healthy living. During our annual visit to the doctor, many of us fear that scale, hoping that we didn’t put too much weight on. The benefits of a healthy diet filled with meats, vegetables, and a lack of junk food are countless. A diet filled with too much “bad stuff” leads to a slew of healthcare problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even poor dental health.
For adults, this can be a constant struggle, but they are not the only ones suffering. Childhood obesity is a rising epidemic. Childrens diet should also be taken seriously. A poor diet in a child can set them up for years and years of health issues down the line. By establishing a diet filled with smart choices, you can help stave off these problems and lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle.
Making smart choices for your children
Establishing a healthy diet for your children may sometimes feel like an arduous task. Children can be picky eaters and sometimes investing in a quick meal or snack seems like the easy way out. Luckily, there are ways to inject some smarter food choices into your childrens diet, including hiding veggies in soups and other complex meals.
Keep in mind that if you take an authoritarian approach and demand that they eat certain foods, your child may become distressed and reject them. Try to introduce some healthier choices, like fruits and vegetables, into their diet slowly and repeatedly over time. If the food becomes a normal part of their routine, they will likely eat it without reservations.
A helpful tip is to try to have as many homecooked meals as possible. Getting takeout or using a food delivery service is only a good idea if they offer healthy options. With authority over the cooking, you have final judgment over things such as sodium content and oils. You can also decide on the correct portion size for your child. Having some great homecooked meals will do wonders for establishing your childrens diet.
The basis for your family’s healthy eating starts at the grocery store. Parents will pull out the Sunday paper flyers and scour them for the best sales. They will then compile a list for their weekly groceries. You can’t eat unhealthy foods if you don’t purchase them in the first place. There might be a great deal on potato chips, but you should ask yourself if it is worth adding these unhealthy options to your childrens diet.
Unfortunately, finding healthy options can be tricky. Not all vegetables are equally healthy. Canned vegetables are packed to the brim with heavy amounts of sodium, so it is best to avoid them. Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits are the way to go when you want the most nutritional benefits.
Foods with heavy amounts of sugar can have damaging effects on your child’s health. It is best to watch out for sugar content in foods and pick smarter options when they’re available. This can be achieved by paying attention to the ingredients on the label. If sugar is one of the first three items listed, the item likely has too much sugar. This is because the first ingredients on the label are those with the highest concentration in the food. Outside of school lunches, the vast majority of your childrens diet will come from the home. Making smart choices while shopping will lead to smart choices in meals.
Dieting is not the only way to a healthy lifestyle for your children. Exercise is another important component. Encouraging active play in children can be a struggle. Many children prefer more insular activities such as social media and video games. While they have their place in a child’s life, it should not come at the expense of good exercise. Studies show that only one-third of children have regular physical activity every day. You can enroll your children in a youth sports program such as basketball, baseball, or soccer. However, you don’t even need to go that far. Even some spontaneous outside activities should prove to be beneficial. Some of these great exercises include going for walks and hikes, shooting the basketball, or playing kickball. Regular exercise coupled with smart eating habits for your childrens diet will set them on the right path to healthiness.
Making a collaborative effort
When devising a plan for your childrens diet and exercise, it is important to work together with your spouse. Being on the same page with each other is vital. If your spouse goes out shopping, make sure they adhere to your healthy meal plan. If they come back with a boatload of junk food, it can be a major setback for the whole family. Maintaining a healthy diet plan for your children can be complicated if you and your spouse are no longer together. After a divorce, children will be staying at and therefore eating at different residences. While it might be a sensitive situation, it is important that both parents are on the same page. If you find yourself in this situation, try to have a dialogue with your ex-spouse on the health needs of your children. Parents will do almost anything for their children. Despite the circumstances, it is important that you have the child’s best interests at heart.
Dental benefits of healthy eating
When we think of healthy eating benefits, we tend to focus on factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. However, healthy eating also has many benefits for our dental health. Sweets and sugary foods could lead to excessive plaque buildup in your child’s mouth. Failure to take care of your dental health can result in the need for root canals or dentures. Dental procedures can also be rather costly, so you can help combat these issues by making your childrens diet a priority.
In addition to healthy eating, there are other ways to help your child keep their teeth and gums clean. Any childrens dentist will recommend regular brushing and flossing. It is not just simple brushing. If the brushing is not done correctly, it’s effect would be irrelevant. It is important that your child brushes thoroughly in a circular motion. This way every last tooth can get a deep cleaning. Flossing is also important in order to prevent cavities. Small pieces of food can get stuck in the small crevices between teeth. Proper flossing, at least once a day, will extract those fragments before plaque sets in.
The pediatric dentistry industry promotes these well-regarded habits for overall dental health. Like healthy eating, this will be hugely beneficial in the long run.
Making eating healthy fun
When teachers want their students to absorb the material, they have several tricks up their sleeves to communicate with them. If a teacher simply stands up in front of the class reading fact after fact, the students won’t likely stay remember the information. They will instead use games, skits, or even songs to communicate the subject matter. When trying to encourage healthy eating, you can use several methods to make it “fun.”
One healthy eating method is to have your children help with the cooking. Children are naturally inquisitive. Many parents have had to deal with their children playing twenty questions with them while they are in the middle of some task. Why not answer some of those questions by letting them see the cooking process? There are several simple and safe tasks that your children can do to help you. This can create a bonding activity between you and your children and maybe even inspire a passion for cooking in them. Your children will be more likely to eat food that they took an active part in making. In the end, you’ll be adding some great food to your childrens diet and they will have fun doing it.
Another method for making healthy food fun is to add it to some of their favorite foods already. Chicken nuggets are a popular American food among children. In order to help kids eat vegetables, there are several brands of nuggets that include bits of vegetables inside of them. You can take a page from their book and add some veggies to some popular dishes. Macaroni and cheese is a great meal that you can add carrots, green beans, or cauliflower to. Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that is often used as a replacement for high carb foods. It can be ground up and flattened to make a much healthier pizza crust. For any creative parents out there, they can try cutting or decorating the food into fun shapes. You can make them look like animals, rocket ships, a ballerina or more. This will give them a smile or laugh, and they will be more likely to dig right in.
Health issues from poor eating
There are a number of problems that arise from a child’s poor eating habits. In addition to the aforementioned issues, there are a host of other health concerns flying under the radar. A poor childrens diet can have an effect on the child’s mental health. Studies have shown links between a poor diet and mental illness. Conversely, a high-quality diet is often associated with positive mental health.
Poor eating habits also contribute to feelings of lethargy in children. This will also affect the mental health of the child. Alternatively, mental health issues can also contribute to poor eating habits. According to the American Psychological Association, stress causes the body to seek fuel as a quick fix for energy. People will often seek out high sugar foods to satisfy that craving. This can turn into a vicious cycle of poor eating and poor mental health. Encourage your children to communicate any stressful situations they may be facing. Let them know that it is ok to talk about their problems. Talking with a child psychologist will also help them with their emotional development. Strong mental and emotional health is a vital component in a child’s overall healthy lifestyle.
Gastroenterology deals with digestive issues. Some of these health concerns include, gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and constipation. While many of these diseases affect adults, they are often the result of a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits. By addressing and combating these habits in childhood, you give your child the groundwork of healthy living.
Adults with health problems often lament their substandard eating behavior as a child. Old habits are hard to break so it is important to take care of them before things get out of hand. An adult with gastrointestinal issues will face some nearly unbearable pain and costly medical bills to get them taken care of. There are numerous positive benefits for a healthy childrens diet. Preventing long-term diseases and pain in adulthood is one of the most beneficial.
Adhering to a schedule
A good way to help your childrens diet is to establish a solid eating schedule. The phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” is not just a cliché. While we sleep, we are fasting for several hours, so by eating in the morning we are literally “breaking the fast.” The morning can be a stressful and rushed time for the whole family. Breakfast is the meal that most often gets skipped. Skipped meals are detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. That is why it is important that children have a nutritious breakfast every morning. Someone who has skipped a meal, is more likely to get major cravings during the day. They are then more prone to snacking to fill those cravings.
In order to prevent having a stressful morning, a good night’s sleep is especially important. A lack of sleep is also detrimental to healthy living. Sleeping is beneficial for everyone, but especially for children. While adults can operate on seven or eight hours of sleep, children need about nine to ten hours every night. By establishing a solid sleeping and eating schedule for your child you will be setting them up for a healthy lifestyle. The lack of a healthy lifestyle can create a mountain of issues. Unless you want a life filled with frequent trips to the hospital and your local urgent care clinic, it is important to establish healthy eating at the forefront.
As parents, you want to do everything you can for your children. It may not be easy, but it is important to establish healthy eating for your child. You do not have to do this alone. You can consult with your child’s doctor, dentist, teachers, and family for advice and planning. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle are insurmountable. By taking some of these steps, you will set your child up for future success.