9 Ways to Healthier Eating

Healthier Eating is a Family Priority

We recently sat down with ADC Cedar Park pediatrician Kimberly Albert, MD to talk about ways to get your child to engage in making healthy food choices.  As parents, the first thing is establishing that healthy eating is a priority for you and your family.

1. Start them young

The younger you start, they don’t know any different. This is all they know is eating lots of fruits and veggies, lots of good protein sources such as, beans, lentils, lean meats, fish, eggs and such. And they don’t know that there are such things as white bread or sugary cereals and that along the way there.

2. No good or bad foods

Never ever should you use food as being good or bad foods. Only being as a reward. You should never use it as foods being related to weight. The term ‘fat’ should never be used. Food should be, again used in terms of nutrition.

3. Mealtime is family time

You should try to eat together as a family even when they are very young. At least one meal a day and set a reasonable expectation. Maybe 15-20 minutes and then gradually extend that up to half hour.

4. Be the provider

As the parent, you provide the food that the children choose from. But you can’t control them eating. They’re the ones who control the eating. So you put out the healthy stuff, don’t engage in battle as to whether they are going to eat it or not eat it. And don’t worry if they don’t. If they get up and they haven’t eaten, tell them if you’re hungry later, I’ll leave this for you and you can come back to have it. You are not starving them by any means but you just don’t replace it with something else.

5. Be creative

Make it fun – have it in an encouraging plate or something like that that kind of helps them get through there. Let them be able to be participating in feeding themselves. Something like their food can stay in one place and food doesn’t touch one another. That’s something kids can’t stand is that if one food touches another. You know, having them have utensils that are appropriate for them and that they can start becoming more independent on their eating and such on that.

6. Offer small meals

Now, if you have a child that tends to eat very small amounts and you are always worried that they’re not eating enough, well break the meals into instead of 3 big meals, into 5 or 6 small meals. So take the fruit out of your dinner and let that be the afternoon snack or let that be the after dinner snack.

7. Disguise the taste of healthier foods

Veggies are always a hard thing to do. Well, it is okay to hide it into things. Maybe you mix into a spaghetti sauce, maybe you bake sweet potatoes into pancake or waffle.

8. Have fun in the kitchen

Have them participate in the preparation of foods and that is the hard thing, I think. A lot of the times with our busy lives is kind preparing ahead of time as to what are the best foods.

9. Stay involved

You know, help the kids with their choices. Help them make their lunches. Cut up vegetables and fruits on the weekend and get them ready so it’s easy to go during the week. If they’re going to buy lunch at school, help them look at the meal plan before and help them choose what things they want to eat.

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*Disclaimer: The products shown in this video are not endorsed by The Austin Diagnostic Clinic. They are used for demonstration purposes only.

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