All mothers want their children to be healthy, and most of us take their eating habits into account when making many of our decisions. Below I will share some tips to help you encourage your children to make healthy eating decisions. Don’t worry, this will not include drastic changes. I believe in a little change making a big difference.
How To Teach Your Kids To Eat Healthier
Set an Example
I don’t think it is going to come as a big surprise that I include this as my first suggestion. I have been guilty of it myself, telling my children to eat their veggies, while my plate includes only carbs and meat. It often takes a conscious effort to have large helpings of the healthy food that you are encouraging your children to eat.
Buy Only What You Want Your Family To Eat
You’d think it would go without saying, but buying junk food will encourage you to eat junk food. I have recently started doing my grocery shopping online and this has cut back significantly on my impulse buys. It also means my kids won’t be begging and sneaking treats into my cart. I am not going to say that my pantry is all organic and homemade, but we are trying to make small, manageable changes.
Set a Shopping Routine
I have recently been trying to cut back on grocery costs and one way I have done this is by shopping on a schedule. This will also help you to get quality ingredients regularly. I shop once a week at the supermarket and try to keep my spending under $175 (I have 6 kids and a husband to feed). I also add $30 a week for fresh fruit and fresh bread (which for us are right next door to each other). By spreading the two stops throughout the week I am more likely to have fresh fruit and veggies, as well as bread with no preservatives, all week long.
Look Closely At The Labels
Reading the labels on your food does not need to be complicated. I suggest encouraging your children, even as young as 5 or 6 years old to take a look at the labels the next time you are shopping. I do not aim to raise kids that are obsessive or worry about fat or sugars, but I do want them to be aware.
“Focus on the Facts” was created to help you, as a mom to use the Nutrition Facts table (the NFt for short) and to help you make informed food choices. It allows you to start by looking at the Serving size and then the Percent Daily Value (% DV).
When you look towards the %DV, it allows you to choose the foods that are containing more or less of your desired, or less desired contents. Choose more things like fibre and calcium, and less fats and sodium. When using the %DV keep in mind that 5% or less is a little, and 15% or more is a lot.
Personally, the serving size also helps me keep my quantity in check. Now that I am looking at the NFt, when I see that the serving size is 2 pieces, I try to stick to 2 pieces, not 4.
Cut Back On Processed Foods
My husband has recently started the Keto Diet and we are all trying to follow some general principles. This includes lowering our carbs and sugars. We have also worked to increase veggie intake. While my children and I are not doing Keto, by focusing on these principles, our intake of processed and pre-packaged foods has dropped significantly. It has also decreased my shopping costs.
I left this one until last, as it is probably my most difficult for me personally. As a family of 8, our schedule is chaotic. I work shift work and my husband travels for a week each month. Then add the sports and birthday parties and deciding which days of the week we will sit down to a meal together is near impossible. I typically plan on 4 sit down meals a week and I do my best to make them early in the day. When you plan meals, it takes away the temptation to make quick (and usually less healthy) meals, stop at the drive through or order in. When you plan your meals and shop for what you need, it is not much more work to whip up something homemade rather than pre-packaged.
I would love to hear your ideas on helping to encourage your whole family to eat a little healthier. Leave me a comment!
This post was sponsored by The Nutrition Facts Education Campaign “Focus on the Facts” Program. All thoughts are my own.