Healthy eating is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. You know that and we know that…..unfortunately our kids don’t always know how to eat right. At various times in the lives of our children, one of the biggest struggles we face as parents is how to get them to eat right. We need to lead by example and that isn’t always easy. We will review your child’s nutrition with you at every well check and at any other visit where it is relevant to the problem at hand or if you just ask! If we aren’t sure, then we can refer to one of our Nutrition colleagues to get you the answers you need.
So what does healthy eating entail? Children have different nutritional requirements at various stages in their life. That being said, there are a few fundamental keys to keep us on the right track when trying to eat healthy:
1) Always try to eat together as a family
There is extensive research and evidence to show that kids eat better when their parents sit down at the table with them. Mealtimes are when we have some of the most important conversations with our kids, so the benefits go beyond just getting them to eat better at any one meal.
2) A balanced diet is always best
Every week it seems there is a new diet fad, and also evidence that previous diets didn’t work out quite as well as expected. It is always best to consult us or a Nutritionist before your child embarks on any diet.
3) Snacks are OK as long as they are healthy!
Fruits and vegetables may not be their first choice for a snack, but if they are consistently offered and there are not less healthy alternatives readily available, then they will eat them! The recommended amount of fruits and veggies is anywhere from 5-7 servings per day. If you replace unhealthy snacks with fruits & veggies, then you are well on your way to helping your kids meet their daily requirements.
4) Stay away from junk food
Excessive amounts of processed sugars, polyunsaturated fats, and simple carbohydrates, have all been clearly shown to have various and multiple adverse effects on our health. Unfortunately, many of the most readily available and cheapest foodstuffs are full of this stuff. Sometimes it can be hard to eat healthy, especially on limited resources.
5) Portion control is important
We hear stories in the office all the time about parents who recently discovered that their child was having two cheeseburgers or three servings of pasta every day when they bought lunch at school. It’s important to talk to your kids about healthy portions so they have an understanding about this. If they are still hungry after a reasonable portion, it’s OK to give them extra portions of……fruits & veggies!