Eating healthy isn’t always easy. However, when it comes to our children’s health and wellness, it’s essential. Even if we, as parents, are diligent with our children’s diets, outside factors will still influence their choices. The snacks offered at daycare, the cafeteria, friend’s houses, and with relatives, are often out of our control. Peer pressure is a tricky concept when it comes to nutrition. Here are few things to consider:
- Habits taught at home usually stay with your children. If you and your family practice healthy eating, your children will likely be drawn towards healthier options. Explain to your children why you serve the things you do, and how unhealthy food can affect their bodies.
- It’s best not to be overly strict. Too many restrictions can cause children to have unhealthy obsessions with food or a distorted body image. Special occasions are a part of everyone’s life, and sometimes enjoying a treat or two is perfectly fine. Explain to your children that certain foods are reserved for special occasions, and why. When attending a family holiday dinner, birthday party or sleepover, it’s best to choose a treat or two and combine those with some healthier choices as well.
- Prepare your children for the scrutiny that they might receive from friends. Kids can be teased for anything, and this includes what they’re eating around the lunch table in the cafeteria. Encourage good self- esteem by opening the door for conversations about their feelings. Allow them to express how they feel and acknowledge those feelings. Explain why health is an important value that you want to pass along to them. Over time, our children will understand that we want them to grow to be healthy because we love and care about them.