10 tips for turning kids into healthy eatersRuwan M
Give your children a good start from the inside out with author Sue Palmer’s ideas for cutting out junk and raising nutrition levels.
- Start as you mean to go on – for instance, from the beginning provide water or milk rather than sugary drinks. If you later include fruit juice, dilute it.
- Keep an eye on your children’s behaviour in relation to food, and try cutting out any foodstuffs that seem to create a bad reaction – check the labels to work out what ingredient (especially additives) might be the cause.
- Follow healthy eating guidelines, such as the Food Pyramid, but remember that low-fat products are inappropriate for young children.
- Ensure children have both omega-3 (eg. oily fish, flaxseed oil/linseed oil) and omega-6 fatty acids (animal fats, nuts vegetable oils) – if necessary, look into fish oil supplements.
- Avoid trans-fats (eg. hydrogenated vegetable oil).
- Help children recognise the difference between your interest in their health and fitness and the marketeers’ interest in your money.
- Don’t use food – especially unhealthy snack foods – as a reward or treat. Try to persuade grandparents and others to follow this rule too.
- Parental example is very important. If you have a sensible, balanced attitude to food and eating, your child will pick up on it – but if you gorge on unhealthy snacks, they’ll want to as well. Raising a healthy child is great motivation to sort out your own eating habits.
- Don’t keep any junk food or unhealthy snacks in the house. Have a selection of healthy snacks available (but no snacking before meals).
- Don’t ban junk food all together – allow occasional snacks, drinks and fast food (for instance, when away from home) – but don’t view them as ‘treats’.