Our Days Calendar is committed to helping co-parenting families be their best. Instilling a healthy lifestyle as a parental role model is incredibly important. Helping your child understand and have healthy eating habits is just as important as teaching them how to manage money or take their responsibilities seriously. It’s especially important in modern days where children are marketed fast-food and processed food options.
Childhood obesity is on the rise. Two out of every five children are overweight or obese, and pediatric obesity rates have tripled in the last three decades. Just as adults, children who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for devastating health issues such as diabetes and some forms of cancer.
Having your child exercise healthy eating habits doesn’t have to be a struggle. Instilling boundaries, setting expectations, and leading by example all go a long way. Here are some tips to help get ahead of the curve and teach your child how to enjoy healthy foods and to want to eat more healthfully.
1. Offer Healthy Choices and More Healthy Choices
Instead of offering your young ones pizza rolls or bagel snacks, offer them a choice between something healthy and … something healthy! A great strategy is to offer two types of healthful snacks. For example, you could offer a crunchy, savory option like apples and cheese, or a sweet and creamy option such as yogurt with fruit.
2. Exercise Portion Control
Eating healthy foods is only one third of the equation. Children are small – they don’t need to eat as much as adults. Forcing children to eat more than they can handle doesn’t help with food waste. It creates unhealthy eating habits and negative associations with mealtimes. Offering your children smaller portions helps avoid food waste. You’ll also save yourself from the quintessential problem of gaining weight thanks to finishing your children’s’ dinners. Serving kid-sized portions is healthier for everyone! We can always offer more if our children are extra hungry.
3. Take the Lead on Healthy Eating Habits
It’s best to plan ahead so that your family has access to healthy meals and snacks when things get busy. Okay, but we’re also single parents. We wrangle kids and teens after work/school/sports, we have to get them fed, on to homework, and off to bed at some reasonable hour. For those of us who just can’t sit down to plan or prepare a week of meals, there’s still a solution! Just buy healthy items! If your busy family depends on convenience foods, it’s still faster to open a bag of salad greens and slice a deli rotisserie chicken than it is to cook a frozen pizza or a box of mac n’ cheese. Just saying!!
4. Work Up an Appetite
Get up and get moving to get yourselves hungry! If your family is worn out and hungry, they’re more likely to fall on that cool crispy salad we mentioned, than wait for delivery. Also, don’t forget children have personalities. Some folks are motivated to eat “the good stuff” when they’ve been bored all day and haven’t yet had a nice “treat.” Take note of the foods your kids request when they’ve been sitting around all day. If you find they want more “exciting” foods when they’ve had a blah day, try spicing up your lives with activities instead of junk food. Physical activity is an opportunity to bond with your family and to be healthy. It doesn’t have to be extreme — go ahead and watch Hawkeye, but take a family walk before each show to rehash what happened last week and what might happen next!
5. We are Here for You
It’s our mission to help Texas co-parenting families be the best they can be. Our Days Calendar wants you to enjoy your time with your children! Take an active role in your lives! Start today by committing to healthier choices and healthy eating habits! It’ll protect your children’s health, and ensure you are here for them for many, many years to come. Never miss a day again with ODC on your team — learn more about our fully automated child custody calendar, and download on the App Store or Google Play, or sign up online!