Southern California Integrative Wellness Center
Spring is an excellent time to make a resolution of a different sort. It’s one of the wisest decisions you can make as a parent to make March National Nutrition Month in your household.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics began its celebration of good nutrition with a week-long program in 1973, expanding it to a month in 1980. Our 10 tips will help you make it easier to foster healthy choices that will last a lifetime.
1. Start Them Young.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides some sobering facts about kids’ eating habits. They start all right. By the time they reach 18, the average teen’s diet scores only 51 out of 100 for its nutrition. Starting them young will create healthy habits that will improve their quality of life at all stages.
2. Aim for Five a Day.
We know we should eat fruits and vegetables. Research by the American Heart Association concluded that two daily servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables offer optimal nutritional value. Now, you have a concrete goal.
3. Bring on the Junior Chefs!
Invite the kids into the kitchen to help with meal prep. They’re more likely to eat what they make because they participated. Who knows? You may have a future Julia Child on your hands.
4. Make It a Contest.
Jerry Seinfeld uses an excellent technique for staying productive that you can use. Get a calendar and put a star on it every day your children get their five-a-day. Of course, there’s a reward for long streaks.
5. Watch the Sandwich Toppings.
Another surprising finding from the dietary guidelines was that sandwiches are the top source of saturated fats and sodium at all ages. Beware of the extra cheese and condiments.
6. Try, Try, Try Again.
The best way to deal with picky eaters is to continue to offer them the foods you want them to eat. Let them see you enjoying it to motivate them to try it.
7. Make It Fun.
Eating is enjoyable, but you can also make it fun. Think fruit kabobs or ants on a log. Bonus points if they help you make them!
8. It’s a Family Affair.
Famil-style meals can often tip the balance toward good nutrition. After all, no one wants to feel left out of the enjoyment.
9. Just Add Play.
Plant a picnic at the park with a basket loaded with healthy goodies. The setting may inspire your kids to try that salad.
10. Make It Convenient.
The problem with fast food and unhealthy snacks is that they are too convenient. Make cut-up, prepackaged fruits and snacks readily available.