Tips to Help Your Kids and Teens Eat Healthier
Healthy eating can help kids maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain health problems, stabilize their energy, and sharpen their minds.
Peer pressure and TV commercials for junk food can make getting your kids to eat well an ongoing struggle. Our busy schedule also can also affect our kids’ diets as we go for convenience and takeout food. Switching to a healthy diet can be a positive change on children’s health, helping to stabilize their energy, sharpen their minds, and even out their moods.
It can be simpler and less time-consuming than you think. With these tips, you can instill healthy eating habits without turning mealtimes into a battle zone and give your kids the best opportunity to grow into healthy, confident adults.
To encourage healthy eating habits, the challenge is to make nutritious choices appealing.
Focus on overall diet rather than specific foods. Kids should be eating more whole, minimally processed food—food that is as close to its natural form as possible—and less packaged and processed food.
Be a role model. Don’t ask your child to eat vegetables while you fill up on potato chips.
Disguise the taste of healthier foods. Add vegetables to a beef stew or mash carrots up with mashed potato, or add a sweet dip to slices of apple.
Cook more meals at home. Restaurant and takeout meals have more added sugar and unhealthy fat so cooking at home can have a huge impact on your kids’ health. If you make large batches, cooking just a few times can be enough to feed your family for the whole week.
Get kids involved in shopping for groceries and preparing meals. You can teach them about different foods and how to read food labels.
Make healthy snacks available. Keep plenty of fruit, vegetables, and healthy beverages on hand like water or pure fruit juice so kids avoid unhealthy snacks like soda, chips, and cookies.
Limit portion sizes. Don’t insist your child cleans the plate, and never use food as a reward or bribe.
Making time to sit down as a family to eat a home-cooked meal not only sets a great example for kids about the importance of healthy food, it can bring a family together—even moody teenagers love to eat tasty, home-cooked meals!