In our adult lives, it can be difficult to establish healthy habits from scratch. As we all know, when it comes to eating healthy and working out, it’s hard to kickstart a new exercise regime or stick to a weight loss program, but it’s incredibly easy to fall off the wagon with a single cheat day. That’s why it’s so important to establish healthy eating habits in children early on! A diet of convenience and takeout is unhealthy, and this can have a negative effect on your child’s health. If your kid is used to eating high calorie, carb heavy meals day in and day out, this unhealthy habit can continue into adulthood and develop into lifelong diseases.
Eating healthy carries numerous benefits for children, as it does with adults:
- Helps kids maintain a healthy weight
- Helps balance out moods
- Stabilizes energy
- Contributes to preventing mental health conditions like anxiety, ADHD and depression
Healthy habits are more likely to stick if they are learned early on in life, which is why it’s important to teach your children good habits now. As you look to incorporate healthful habits into your daily routine with your kids, it may be helpful to review the most important food and nutrition guidelines for healthy kids. We’ve done the research for you and compiled an easy guide here on our blog!
Similar to an adult diet, kids should consume a nutrient-dense and varied diet. Here’s what you should offer plenty of:
- Dairy: Younger kids should consume full fat dairy products, as they really need all the benefits for their tiny growing bodies. As your kids grow, you can offer and encourage your child to enjoy two cups daily of low-fat dairy products like yogurt, cheese and milk.
- Protein:Protein is essential for building, maintaining and repairing the tissues in our body. Choose a variety or protein-rich options for your kids including lean meats, poultry, eggs, soy products, seafood, nuts, beans and more. The daily recommended intake for children over the age of two is two to four ounces.
- Grains:Whole grains are essential to a healthy diet. Make sure to offer two ounces daily of whole grains like oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, whole-wheat bread and brown rice. Limit exposure to refined grains like pasta, rice and white bread.
- Veggies: A variety of colorful, fresh veggies will provide your kids with a range of vitamins and nutrients necessary for their health and development. Aim to provide one cup of dark green, red or orange veggies every day, in addition to beans and peas as well. If you are offering canned or frozen vegetables, look for options that are low in sodium.
- Fruit: Instead of giving kids cookies, candy and cake, offer natural sugar in the form of fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit. The daily recommended intake is one cup of fruit for children over the age of one.
Commitment to Health
Following food and nutrition guidelines for healthy kids can seem daunting at first, especially since children are notorious for being picky eaters and always craving sweets and sugar. The good news is that you can teach your little ones to enjoy healthy foods! Here are some tips to help you get started as you build a healthy habit to last a lifetime:
- Start the day with a good breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and offering a balanced meal with a good protein is a great way to kick off the day.
- Sitting down to eat as a family shows kids that mealtime is a priority, and that it’s a wonderful time of day that the family comes together to share what’s going on in their lives.
- Your kids look up to you as a role model, so it’s important that you set a good example. If you make healthy eating a daily habit, then your kids will follow your lead.
- Get your kids involved in meal planning and grocery shopping. Making a shopping list together can be fun and a rewarding activity.
- Offering a diet that offers a wide range of colors and flavors will help your kids enjoy different foods, so they don’t end up being picky eaters.
Being healthy is a lifestyle decision, and one you will need to constantly maintain. That being said, it also doesn’t have to be overwhelming or tedious. In our adult lives there are various supplements we can take to boost our health, but if we teach our kids healthy habits early on we will set them up for success so they won’t have to worry about supplements and strict diets later on in life. Check out the rest of our blog for more information on our products and services, lifestyle tips, recommendations and more!