There is so much junk food out there, at the grocery store, parties, even at school snack. How can I get my child to eat a healthy diet?
Fun foods are everywhere. Most of us live in a culture where processed, white flour, high sugar, and/or deep fried foods are commonly eaten and easily purchased. The availability of these foods combined with food advertisements on all types of media are over whelming. These types of foods are so common that avoiding them becomes a challenge.
I encourage you to focus your efforts on providing whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. This includes all fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat meats, nuts and seeds, beans, and tofu, eggs, whole grains (such as oatmeal, brown rice, millet, quinoa), whole grain breads and bread products, low-fat dairy products (mozzarella cheese, low fat cottage cheese and 2-percent milk).
If you can offer these foods to your child more than half of the time, nutrition will happen even when fun foods are part of your child’s regular diet. We are all born with an innate drive for survival. This survival instinct will attract us to the right nutrients for our bodies if we are allowed to follow these instincts.
In studies, children were offered a variety of healthy and fun foods for a week. They were allowed to choose what they wanted to eat and eat as much as they wanted. The study found that these children consumed the correct amount of calories and the right balance of nutrients. Yes, there were times when they chose fun food exclusively, but over time their bodies directed them to the foods that their bodies needed.
So we need to help children maintain an intact instinct to survive. It sounds harder than it is. Here are 6 tips to let nutrition happen.
1.) Offer a variety of healthy foods on a regular basis. Children’s eating likes, dislikes, and amounts consumed are erratic. If they don’t eat much on one day or one meal they will make up for it later.
2.) Help children focus on how their body feels during a meal by not distracting the eating process with television, reading or intrusive music or radio programs.
3.) Always offer an unlimited amount of a healthy food when a fun food is being served (in a limited portion) so a child can eat until they decide they are have had enough.
4.) Offer foods at least every 3 hours and for some children every 1 ½ hours. This offers food security for the child, they know they will be fed a regular intervals
5.) Do not allow anything but water between snack and meal times. This gives the parent a break from being a 24 hours waiter and teaches the child to eat when food is offered.