By Dr. Dhananjay K Mangal, Pediatrics
For a growing child, nutrition is everything. Nutrition comes from eating the right food, rich in essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Eating healthy will not only keep your energized but will also improve brain function and will result in overall good health in the long run.
Sadly, due to TV commercials and peer pressure, children are naturally attracted to eating junk food. In order to ensure that your child eats right and enjoys doing so, you need to start promoting healthy eating habits at an early age. Studies show that healthy eating habits in children benefit them in the long-run, when they turn into adults.
Here’s how to ensure that your child develops healthy eating habits:
- Don’t focus on specific foods but on the overall diet of your child – When trying to develop healthy eating habits in your child, focus on the overall diet and not on specific food. Make sure he/she gets a balanced dose of vegetables and fruits in their diet.
- Try Cooking More Meals at Home – Cooking food at home is not only healthy for the whole family, it also teaches the child about the importance of food. Food available at take-outs and fast food joints is filled with unhealthy sugar and fats that could have a negative impact on your child.
- Have Regular Family Meals – Make sure that the entire family sits down together for breakfast and dinner. Children then come to associate meal times with spending time with the family and are more inclined to eat the right food at meals.
- Get Your Kids Involved in Cooking - Most kids are always ready to help their parents with the grocery shopping. This and letting them help when you cook will allow you to explain the nutritional value of the food you are cooking and let you teach them how to read food labels as well.
- Always Keep Healthy Snacks Around – Keep your home well-stocked with fruits, whole grain snacks, pure fruit juices and other healthy benefits. Show them where everything is kept and make it easily accessible so that your child chooses them over sugary and fried snacks whenever he/she is hungry between meals.