Health and nutrition plays an important part in your life and that of your children. In fact, if you take the time to help your children create these good eating habits early on, you may help them reduce the possible effects of toxic stress they may be dealing with. Our children are bombarded with all kinds of unhealthy junk ads on the television, in magazines, and even at school. There are many ways you can help steer your children down the road of good health and nutrition.
Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day
Too often children skip this important meal, setting the stage for a more stressful day as they enter school hungry and unfocused. The key is to create an enjoyable meal your child will wake up for every day. A balanced breakfast should consist of protein such as eggs, yogurt, or milk. Including whole grains such as oatmeal is a great way to increase their energy and start the day off right.
Let Your Children Help in the Kitchen
Often we are greeted with, “What’s for dinner?” Why not take the guessing game out of dinner and prepare a weekly meal with the help of your children? Find ways to create their favorite meal in a healthy way by replacing unhealthy items with healthy ones. Let them help you cook the meal, or better yet, plant a garden and cook with your own fruits and vegetables. They will love watching the garden grow and know that they helped create the fresh, healthy food they are eating.
Eat Together as a Family
Surveys show most Americans still eat together five times a week, but these days it is harder and harder to find families that take the time to actually share a sit-down meal. The benefit of eating together is the bonding that happens between you and your child. Require that the children (and you!) come to the table with no cell phones or other distractions. Take the time to listen to how your child’s day went, and share something from your own. When children feel they can talk to their parents, they are less likely to find themselves dealing with toxic stress on their own.
What You Eat is Important
Try to keep your child away from sugary sodas and treats and instead opt for fresh fruits. Protein is important to help strengthen and build muscle, but red meat should be just an occasional dish. Opt for fish, eggs, and poultry, which are healthier. Food made with whole grain is a better option than their white flour counterparts. Don’t forget about the greens and veggies. A great way to help your child get their daily vegetable needs is to put them in a smoothie, mixing both spinach and berries to create a sweet yet healthy drink.
The bottom line is that nutritious family meals play such an important role in your child’s life by creating habits that can last a lifetime, hep prevent obesity, and give them a sense of safety and connectedness. All of these are ways to help your child lead a happy and fulfilled life.