Monday

6 Tips For Helping Your Children Make Healthier Food Choices.


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Facts Up Front program.

My husband and I are always trying to make healthy food choices for our family. As the primary cook in our home, I feel like it is my responsibility to help our children develop healthy food habits and positive feelings towards food. But, it can be really hard.

After my daughter asked why I was “reading the back of the box” while grocery shopping not too long ago. I showed her how to read labels. She thought it was fun, but had a hard time with all the info and the small print. While reading a cereal box during breakfast, she pointed out that the box nutrition info on the front that was much easier for her to understand.

And that was the first I heard about Facts Up Front. Facts Up Front aims to help families (consumers) make informed choices about food, by putting the nutrition information on the front of the packages where it is much quicker and easier to read.

I have noticed that since our kids have started paying attention to nutrition labels and especially the Facts Up Front, they are much more conscious about the food choices they make. I have loved the quick reference it provides me as I am working to make wise choices for our family. 

Here are 6 tips for helping your kids make healthier food choices. I hope they help your and your family.

 1. Stop restricting Food. Restricting food, leads to a higher chance of eating disorders and negative feelings towards food. It can also promote binge eating and sneaky eating. When kids do get their hands on the restricted food, they tend to overeat it, and even sneak around to get it. We are friends with a family that doesn’t allow one drop of sugar in their home. No candy, cookies, not a single sweet of any kind. Recently, their 6 year old has been stealing candy from his friends, and hiding it under his pillow to eat at night when no one is around. This can be a result of banning, or restricting food. Instead, talk about healthy food choices and don’t loose site of moderation. Teach kids to look for the Facts Up Front label on food for a quick look at what foods are healthy for their bodies.

 2. Don’t use food as a reward. Argh, this one can be so hard as parents. It seems to make things so much easier to be able to bribe with a lollipop, or promise a treat if our daughter does well on her spelling test. But, using food as reward often leads to weight problems, as our children get older. Instead of using food as a reward, reward with fun active things like going for a bike ride, or having a play date outside with friends.


 3. Don’t label food as “good” and “bad”. Labeling food as good or bad teaches our kids to feel guilty as they get older about the choices they make with food. Stop labeling and start teaching. Teach your children how food affects their participation in the activities they like and how it makes their bodies function and feel. This will teach them to make decisions based on what is best for their own bodies. And use words like healthy and unhealthy instead of good and bad.

 4. Stop constantly pointing out unhealthy food choices our children make. Instead of always pointing out the unhealthy choices our kids are making, praise the healthy choices. And don’t hesitate to suggest healthier choices like pretzels over potato chips and fruit over candy. Need help figuring out what food choices are best for your family? Take the Interactive Nutrition Quiz.

 5. Let kids choose. It is empowering when we get to make our own choices. It lets us feel like we are in control. We make so many of the daily choices for our children. When they sleep, what they get to do, what they get to put in their mouths. It can be stifling to them. So, let them make some of their own choices. Before a meal, explain that you are going to have a vegetable, and then let them choose between carrots and green beans. Simply letting them choose will make them more likely to eat the veggie. We tend to own our choices and follow through with things when we are the ones deciding. When your children choose healthy foods they like, serve those more often.


 6. Eat dinner together as a family. This one is really important. Children who eat dinner with their parents are less likely to make unhealthy food choices and are also less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. If you want to read more about the power of family dinners, check out this post. You can also use the Shopping and Meal Planning Tips on the Facts Up Front website to help your family overcome common obstacles for getting from the grocery store to the family dinner table. If you are not eating dinner together now, this can seem overwhelming. Start slow with twice a week and then increase until you are sitting down together as many nights as possible. Utilize resources like the Facts Up Front recipe section for help with what to cook your family.



 The Facts Up Front label is becoming much more prevalent in grocery stores around the country. Go on a little scavenger hunt and have your kids see how many products they can find with the new labels. Couple that with the six tips above and start talking about good nutrition with your kids today.

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Facts Up Front program.
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18 comments:

  1. Love all of these great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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  2. Heather, I really like this post. All of the tips are great and I plan on utilizing them with my own children someday. I just had a question though...you mentioned to not use food as a reward for the good things children do, but what about rewarding or denying children with dessert based on whether or not they eat all their dinner?? I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this matter.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great insight and advice. I think that it is important to educate kids about health at a very young age so that they will be aware if it as they grow up. Health is so valuable and it is best to invest on it as early as possible. When a child is introduced to healthy food choices he would most probably live a healthy lifestyle as he grows up. It is so hard to adjust to a healthy lifestyle as an adult especially if you are not use to it but we all know that we have to make healthier choice so that we can live longer. Parents that are teaching their kids to eat healthy are doing them a really big favor.

    Regards,
    Dennis

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