A growing concern over the prevalence of obesity in children has sparked discussions and campaigns to eliminate junk foods, sugar-laden foods, and oily and fatty foods in children's diets.
Despite the recent “awareness” campaigns, the number of children who are obese, developing insulin resistance, or already suffering from type 2 diabetes continues to rise. As adult in child’s life, you can set the example and protect your children's health by controlling what they eat and by teaching them the importance of healthy food. A healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet has beneficial effects on a child's health and performance in school. Generally, children who are properly nourished do well in school and participate enthusiastically in discussions and activities. They also have a strong immune system that fights off infections and prevents sickness and school absences.
Here are some strategies you can try to encourage children to eat healthy foods (these tips work on “grown-up” kids too!):
Purchase Only Healthy Foods
You have the ability to control what food items to buy. At the grocery, choose healthy snacks such as yogurt, oatmeal cookies, and whole grain crackers over junk foods like chips, sodas, and candies.
Inject Fun during Meal Time
Some children tend to be very picky when it comes to food. If the children in your life do not like to eat their fruits and veggies or prefer only one type of food like fried chicken or hotdogs, try not to scold or punish them. Instead, think of creative ways to encourage them eat what's on their plate. Carve different shapes from fruits and vegetables or make their meals colorful. You can also associate healthy foods with the things they usually see; point out to your little kids how broccoli looks like little trees. Also, kids are smarter than you think – tell them that eating green foods (such as broccoli, peas, and spinach) will make them strong!
Make Your Meal Time a Family Time
Encouraging your children to eat at home allows you to gain control over what they eat because at home, you can serve them nutrient-dense meals, unlike when they eat outside where they can eat junk foods. Eating together for a family meal is also a good way to strengthen your bond by catching up with your children's lives and by discussing important issues in the family.
Give them an additional supply of vitamins and minerals through Children's Chewable Multivitamins. They contain 12 vitamins and 8 minerals to strengthen the developing bodies of your children. They are also free from certain allergens such as gluten, wheat, yeast, and dairy products and come in a delicious cherry flavor.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oct. 2010; vol 92: pp 946-53.