Obesity amongst children has become an epidemic in North America. The younger children start to develop healthy eating habits, the better off they will be. If you’ve discovered that the only thing your child will eat is a high fat, processed fast food and you give in because it’s better than not eating. The probability he or she will become overweight is high.
It’s important to get into the habit of ensuring the only food in the house is healthy food. It’s very difficult to change habits that have been established in childhood. As you explore your child’s palate, also keep in mind that if something looks good or “yucky” in a child’s eyes, it greatly contributes to the flavor and texture of the food. Kids, just like adults eat with their eyes first. This is why a child might immediately like an eye -appealing food found in an advertisement or menu. Marketing and media have a huge impact on children.
What are the implications of good eating habits?
Good eating habits that are established when you’re young are likely to stick with you for life. You’re less prone to illness, you’re more likely to maintain a healthy weight and it will have a positive impact on your self-worth. Positive self-worth affects every area of your life.
Trust Your Child’s Instincts
Pediatricians often tell parents that they shouldn’t worry and their picky toddler won’t starve themselves. Many parents are still concerned that their child couldn’t possibly be eating enough to get by. The truth is- children actually have remarkably good instincts when it comes to food and nutrition. When given the opportunity, without power struggles- (bribing, coaxing and threatening), they will eat exactly what they need.
If you want your child to eat dinner at the same time you do, try to time their snack-meals so that they are at least two hours before dinner. Some children are fed snacks prior to meal time and then are punished for not eating. Because their tummies are so small, they really are just full, not necessarily being picky!
When do I start creating good habits around eating?
NOW! And make every calorie count! Offer your child foods that pack lots of nutrition into small doses. This is particularly important for toddlers who are often as active as rabbits but who seem to eat like mice. Eating a lot of high fat, processed convenience foods can become a habit because it’s easy.
Bottom line: If you don’t start feeding your child processed foods in the first place, you won’t have to break a difficult habit. Foods containing trans fats can coat the tongue leaving taste buds unreceptive and only to hypnotize us into choosing unhealthy flavors and food textures. If you can avoid processed foods, you should at all costs!