Good nutrition starts at home: How parents can set the right example
They say you are what you eat … but did you know that your eating habits can have a lasting effect on their food choices? Children will often mimic what their parents do, so mom and dad play a key role by setting a good example when it comes to proper nutrition, portion sizes and mealtimes.
Eating behaviors begin to evolve during the first few years of life. Below are some tips to ensure you are helping to guide your kids on the right track…
Be a positive role model:
- Eat well-rounded diet with nutritious foods. Incorporate fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, eggs and fish into your diet – If your kids see you eating them, they’ll be more likely to try them too.
- For toddlers who have low variety of foods in their diet or may be picky eaters, adding a toddler nutritional drink like Enfagrow can help fill nutrient gaps and ensure they’re getting the important vitamins to support growth and brain development. It’s made with real milk and contains nutrients like DHA, vitamin D and iron.
- Limit foods high in calories, fat, sugar and salt but avoid labeling foods like French fries, juices, and ice cream as “bad,” instead, explain they should be eaten in moderation.
Create a positive eating environment:
- Make a concerted effort to enjoy family meals together. Studies have shown children who do this tend to eat healthier foods and have a lower risk of becoming overweight.
- Set regular mealtimes and snack times. This creates a healthy routine and prevents your kids from snacking whenever they feel like it, which can lead to overeating.
- Don’t pressure your kids to eat certain foods – that could cause them to eat less.
- Avoid using foods as a reward or punishment as it could lead to unhealthy eating habits.
- Always have healthy foods at home.
Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist and expert in the fields of childhood nutrition & diet.