Healthy Children Begin With Healthy Parents – Food Choices Matter
As parents, it starts with us. We can be role models for our children by the way we care for ourselves. Healthy families can produce healthy children. It is important to support our children’s health, one healthy meal at a time. Getting children to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables is a good start. There are many creative examples of food preparation that can spark the attention of even the most persnickety of eaters. Being creative in food preparation can be fun and include the entire family. According to research, children are drawn to bright colored objects, so our selection of plant-based food groups offers us creative options. Vegetables and fruit that are cut into different shapes and sizes provide a positive way to introduce healthy food choices. Children are naturally attracted to these fun and creative food shapes and are more willing to eat them. Here is an example of a simple, but nutritious meal that a child would love:
The Negative Effects of the Food Industries’ Advertising
Unfortunately, children can be subjected to all kinds of advertising pushing unhealthy foods laden with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), excessive sugar and salt, hydrogenated oil, and other unhealthy additives. Not surprisingly in breakfast cereals for example, children are offered little toys or prizes, which they readily gravitate too. This form of advertising, designed to stimulate a child’s desire for the toy or prize, can be detrimental when trying to steer a child from unhealthy processed foods. As parents it is our responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing environment for our children. In this respect, our children’s health is also our responsibility. If we can navigate through the misleading advertising and misrepresented food labeling ploys, then we can begin to raise healthy children. Although there have been some positive changes in the food industry, there still remain issues. We can be successful with providing healthy food choices to our children.
A Parent’s Gift to Their Children: Eating Plant-Based
Children learn about the world around them through their relationship with their parents. Children also mimic their parents, so if we choose unhealthy food sources, our children will likely follow. A plant-based diet contains all the vitamins and minerals to help the physical and mental development of our children. It is important for them to know that eating a healthy plant-based diet is good for their growing bodies. It is also important for them to understand that how they eat affects our environment and animals. Eating a plant-based diet also reinforces the goal of doing “no harm” to the planet.
We can be role models for our children by the way we care for ourselves.
It is often said that one good decision encourages another, and the food choices we make for our children is one of them. The health of our children deserves special attention. We must be committed to ensuring that the next generation is not plagued by chronic illnesses and disease. There is a lot of confusion for the average family regarding healthy food choices. A plant-based diet can eliminate that confusion. Encouraging children to eat a rich plant-based diet starts with us.
Health – The Greatest Gift of All
Children’s self-esteem, self-worth, and safety are a major focus for parents. The commitment to their overall health is just as important. We can support the health of our children by continuing to be role-models for them. It’s important to make sure that we work to improve our children’s health, one meal at a time.
- American Psychological Association. (2015) The Impact of Food Advertising on Childhood Obesity. Retrieved March 31, 2015, from http://www.apa.org/topics/kids-media/food.aspx
- Gavin, Mary L. (2013) Kids and Food: Ten Tips for Parents. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating_tips.html
- Gremont, Caron. (2013). Inspiring Healthy Habits one Bite at a Time. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.firstbites.org/#!familyprogram/c114
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