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Tips – Introducing Healthy Eating Habits for Kids

Tips – Introducing Healthy Eating Habits for Kids – An easy tutorial about how to teach kids healthy eating habits at an early age.

I recently completed a speaking engagement with Great Start Collaborative – Oakland County. One of my speaking topics was an easy tutorial about how to teach children healthy eating habits at an early age.

The decision to promote a healthy diet for your children is obviously easy but the first steps toward a healthy eating regimen for kids can seem insurmountable in the early stages. It’s fairly easy for adults to modify their own diets for “the greater good” but you can expect resistance when it comes to kids and healthy eating choices. The bombardment of unhealthy snacks and fast food from advertisements on Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel certainly don’t make things any easier. Neither does the pressure of their peers in the lunchroom, school functions, birthday parties and other social functions.

An easy way to start to get your kids to eat healthier is to make some simple diet substitutions. For example, always use butter, never margarine; try sun butter instead of peanut butter; if you eat grains, choose whole grain pasta and breads, use canned salmon instead of tuna, eat brown rice instead of white rice, etc.

Kicking sugary and high fructose corn syrup-laden sodas and fruit juices can be tricky. Obviously, you’ll want to high fructose corn syrup at all costs and pop should be eliminated outright. If you’re in a pinch in regards to a sugary fruit juice habit, try watering the juices down a bit with every serving to lighten up the sugar content. During this process, your child can still enjoy fruit juice and you’ll help them by modifying their taste buds to acclimate to a more refreshing, healthier fruit drink.

altIntroducing Healthy Eating Habits for Kids Tips Include:

  • Training Taste Buds – start young with healthy options and don’t introduce items you’d rather avoid. Modify “unhealthy” versions of foods by adding water and checking labels in regards to portion sizes.
  • Train your children early that water or water infused with fruit juice slices are healthier and even more refreshing than they’re sugary syrup store bought counterparts. Trader Joe’s offers a low-calorie lemonade that is delicious, all-natural and very low in calories. Cold or iced green tea is also cheap to make, healthy and very refreshing.
  • Homemade Baby Food – store bought is just not as healthy. Even organic ones must be heated to such a degree that they lose a lot of the nutritional content. Steam the foods, and puree with a food processor, using the water they were cooked in – changing the consistency to match the age. Pour into ice cube trays and store in labeled baggies. Mix up and heat.
  • Homemade Foods – involve kids in the cooking process, grow your own garden, use fresh ingredients. Showing children how food is prepared teaches valuable lessons about healthy eating and they often enjoy the process.
  • Keep a Food Diary so you will find problematic foods quickly.
  • Visit with a Nutritionist if you’re having problems creating a balanced diet of healthy foods.

If you’re stumped for recipes, I highly recommend, or getting a copy of Get Your Kids Off Crap, a cookbook by Kathryn Shelton. Kathryn Shelton is a lunch lady here in Michigan at Eagle Creek Academy in Oakland Township. She made it her mission to offer up pre-ordered lunches made with real food, and she gives away plenty of her awesome recipes!

See related posts below for more tips about healthy eating habits for kids and other health-related topics.

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