Shopping for delicious food is extremely easy given the wide array of choices available to us. Today’s grocery stores are chocked full of tasty treats, snacks, and meals. However, selecting unhealthy options is far too easy, even when we think we are buying health foods. Our full schedules and rushed lives makes it difficult to eat healthy especially when so many pre-packaged, ready-to-be-eaten meals are offered in the stores. Providing healthy food choices for your children and family takes some extra work. Reading labels, selecting only the healthiest of foods to have in your home and avoiding dinning out are some steps you can take, read on to learn even more.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Choices
At about 6 months old, babies start enjoying solid foods like fruit or vegetable purées. Introducing their taste buds to the natural flavor of fruits and vegetables is a great start on the road to good health. In vegetable-eating countries like in Thailand, babies are offered fresh vegetables to chew on while they deal with the pain from teething– with close supervision of course. Starting them early means, you won’t have any problems getting them to eat these natural foods as they grow up. As long as you continue to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to your child rather than sugary or salty snacks, he or she will happily snack on the fresh selections without any problems. Choose organic options for your produce as often as you can, but especially when you are consuming the skin – they contain the most pesticides (Find more information on this by searching for The Dirty Dozen.).
Ingredients to Avoid
Preservatives, artificial flavors and sweeteners, in any form are believed to be the culprits to a child’s weak immune system and frequent illnesses. Cookies and other goodies that are displayed in the shelves of grocery stores for a period of time probably have preservatives in them – unless they are vacuum-packed and labeled as “no preservatives added” on their packaging. It is healthier to buy freshly-baked cookies, cakes and pastries from reputable bakeries when you are looking to avoid these potentially harmful additives.
Fast Food Influence
It gets more and more difficult to limit fast food consumption as our children age. The more involved they become with extra-curricular activities and school functions, the more running around us parents have to do. This means less time eating a family dinner together that was prepared at home. The temptation to run through a fast food drive-thru is sometimes too great. Minimizing your child’s meals from these extremely unhealthy menus should be avoided as much as possible. Plan your meals before each week and consider cooking dinners in advance that can be eaten cold. Grilled chicken does not need to be heated before it is consumed and is a much better option than a fast food chicken nugget.
Rewarding your child when their room is cleaned or an A is earned at school is a great tool. Choosing candy or any food as that reward is not. Children should be taught that food is the fuel that the body needs rather than a reward for a job well done. Instead of food, consider rewarding your child with a special activity, a later bedtime, cuddling in bed with you while you read a book or the chance to play a board game with you before dinner. Find a reward that will fit your child without filling her belly.
Junk Food Craze
It is often a status symbol for a child or teenager to be holding a colourful bag of chips. Comparing lunches, to see who has the “best” snacks is a long held tradition in school cafeterias. Little do these children know – the saturated fats, preservatives or salt inside them can be very dangerous to one’s health. Cancer, heart ailments and kidney failures can be traced back to this bad habit of eating junk foods regularly. However, with the world becoming more health-conscious, there are plenty of healthy, convenient foods that can replace these trendy snacks – like yogurt, all-natural banana chips, nuts or sun-dried raisins.
Who says it’s easy to be parent?
Raising happy, healthy children is no easy task but the road there will be a bit easier if you start them on the right foot with the food they consume. Remember that the food tastes and preferences from childhood will typically, linger into adulthood. The best approach is to be selective with the types of foods that you offer your babies from the moment they begin to eat solids, through their childhood and until they become adults. Provide them the highest quality of foods that you can, they will thank you for it…eventually.
How do you make sure you and your family are eating healthy?