September. And now that school is starting, whatís the
latest on how to encourage good eating habits in our young
good role model, say experts. Like it or not, parents are the
most important influence in our childrenís lives. And even
if we are not perfect, itís our responsibility to
demonstrate healthy behaviors to our kids. Thatís how they
see how well you are doing? Here are some questions to ask
yourself, adapted from nutrition experts at the National Dairy
regularly skip breakfast?
drink sodas rather than water or milk with your meals?
frequently go on diets to lose weight?
indicate a fear of or frequently talk about "bad"
food to your child?
have frequent snacks throughout the day rather than regular
eat in front of the TV?
eat when you are bored or under stress?
honest. If your answer to several of these questions is
"yes," you are likely sending unhealthy nutrition
messages to your child.
what can we do about it? Start, say experts, by realizing that
we can encourage healthy behaviors in our kids by modeling
healthful actions ourselves. Here are some ways we can start:
meals at regular timesÖespecially breakfast.
to your child ó through your own actions ó what a moderate
portion looks like. Example: I might choose to eat a couple
slices of pizza with a large salad instead of a large pizza
with a couple sprigs of salad.
the amount of high sugar, high fat foods you bring into your
home. Our goal: a light but not depriving food environment.
beverages such as water and milk instead of soda and fruit
ways to include your children in the preparation of food and
meals. Again, thatís how they learn.
kiddos to recognize a "balanced" meal ó one that
includes at least three of the following nutrient groups:
protein (fish, poultry, lean meats, nut butters, eggs),
vegetables, fruit, whole grains or beans, and high calcium
foods (low fat milk, yogurt, cheese or calcium fortified milk
desserts that add nutrients. Fruit and yogurt, for example.
school lunches with your childís preferences as well as
nutritional needs in mind. Add extra veggies to sandwiches.
Use a variety of whole grain breads, crackers or
"wraps." Vary protein sources such as deli meats,
nut butters, hummus or other bean spreads, eggs, and cheese.
Always include a fruit or a vegetable. Pack after-school
snacks such as high protein cereal bars or trail mix,
especially if your student has sports practice.
forget, mom and dad, good habits are caught more than taught.
Let the role modeling begin.