Healthy snacking and eating habits begin at an early age. In fact, it begins as early as your child’s toddler years. Obviously, however, it isn’t the toddler that chooses or prepares his/her snack but up to the caregiver whether that is mom, dad, Grandma or the babysitter.
Establishing acceptable eating standards is up to you as a parent and should begin immediately after the birth of your child, if not before. Insuring that anyone who will be responsible for providing meals/snacks to your child should be aware of what you prefer and elect not to serve. For example, making certain that the babysitter understands that the Movie Theatre Microwave Popcorn in the pantry is ONLY for Bridge night and that the Organic Dehydrated Banana Bites or the fresh applesauce in the refrigerator is a snack intended for your child.
Healthy eating habits for your children should realistically be shared by everyone in the home especially since it is common knowledge that children learn through observation and modeling of behaviors, even eating habits. Did you know that research has suggested that children who are taught to eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables instead of chips and cookies will choose the healthier foods over the less healthy foods more often than not? These healthy eating choices will prevail throughout your child’s lifetime if they begin early and are practiced consistently. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your 7, 10, 13 or even 16 year old preferring a home prepared meal over fast foods? I thought it would so I took the necessary steps to insure healthy eating habits by my two sons, now ages 18 and 20, when they were born. Call it a lifestyle modification plan that had the ultimate intended results. Although it wasn’t always easy making the healthy choice over the quick choice, I prepared their baby foods from organic fruits, vegetables and meats from the day they ate their first “real” foods. In fact, my sons didn’t visit a “fast food” restaurant until we travelled across country when my boys were aged 3-1/2 and 5 and restaurants serving healthier meals weren’t readily available – fast food to me at that time was Subway. They didn’t taste a soft drink until they attended school and were served the beverages at another child’s party.
I still prepare their lunches and dinners daily, even though my schedule is very hectic as I wear many hats within a day working multiple businesses inside the home, and participate in every activity and sporting event in which they engage. I feel, however, that my due diligence has paid off as I observe my children choosing an orange over a cookie, and watch them enjoying their vegetables with their evening meals. I’ve never been the parent apologizing for their child’s refusal to eat the meal that is served nor had to deal with them electing to go without. Additionally, I have NEVER been the “short order” cook in the home attempting to prepare something for each individual due to my children having developed finicky eating habits – something I’ve witnessed many times in other people’s homes. My sons are both physically healthy, do not suffer from acne or struggle with being overweight and have no physical limitations resulting from poor nutritional habits and conditions resulting from such.
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