By Connie Evers MS, RD, LD – Nutrition for Kids
Connie’s Healthy Eating Blog – A New Year, A New Beginning for Family Health Habits
Begin 2012 with some new family food rules!
As you ease back into school and work routines, think about your family’s approach to eating. Instead of setting unrealistic resolutions or resorting to fad diets and trends, think of real-world goals that everyone can agree on.
Here are a few important ones to get you started:
Breakfast is linked with academic achievement, focus, concentration and learning. There is also research that suggests breakfast eaters have an easier time achieving a healthy weight. To plan an optimal breakfast, use my “rule of 3″ which includes a protein source (from protein or dairy group), a serving of whole grain and a serving of either fruit or vegetable.
Improve your family’s health and save money by drinking water when thirsty. Limit sugary beverages and restrict 100% fruit juice to just 4-6 ounces/day. Serve nutrient-rich low-fat or fat-free milk with meals and snacks.
3. Healthy Food, Front & Center!
A kitchen inventory and makeover is in order for many families. For instance, if children see a big bowl of fresh fruit on the counter, ready-to-eat cut up fruit and veggies in the refrigerator and two or more choices of vegetables at dinner, the odds are much greater they will learn to enjoy fruits and vegetables.
4.Promote healthy eating development
How do you know if your child has had enough to eat? Actually, you don’t know but your child does! Never force children to take a bite or clean their plates. As soon as they are able, encourage children to serve themselves. If you serve them, be sure to start with a small portion and let them ask for more if they are still hungry. It’s important that children learn to respond to their own feelings of hunger and fullness.
5. Schedule Family Meals
Family meals improve nutrition and also strengthen family bonds. Children who grow up with family meals are often better adjusted and less prone to risky behavior as teens. This year, return to the family table and make plans to eat together as much as possible.
6. Parents, it’s up to you!
Parents are the primary role models for healthy eating. From an early age, children learn to eat the foods that they see others eating. Commit to healthier shopping habits, better choices at restaurants and more nutritious beverage and snack habits. Becoming a fit, healthy active family starts with you!
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