A Kanata Daycare Offers Tips to Help Your Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Food
With Halloween and the Holidays being over, you’re probably cringing at the amount of candy, treats, and cakes your children have consumed. Parents fear the harm of junk food on their little ones’ health. And while consuming junk food on a moderate level isn’t too bad once in a while, no one wants their children to suffer from childhood obesity and diabetes because of an addiction to this harmful food. And this list of unwanted health problems only gets worse as we get older.
We all know the health risks associated with junk food, but it can be hard to avoid unhealthy food altogether. Your kids may see ads on TV, watch their friends eating junk food, and you might even have a weakness for a type of sweet or salty snack as well. So instead of trying to pretend that junk food doesn’t exist, or completely forbidding your kids from eating it, help your kids develop healthy eating habits instead. This way they can learn to make healthy food choices more often throughout their lives which will positively impact their overall health as adults.
A healthy relationship with food will help your kids eat a balanced diet that favours moderation, leading to healthier lifestyles. Here’s how you can help your kids make healthier food choices at home and at their Kanata daycare.
Make Healthy Snacks Available
If your kids get hungry between meals, they will opt for foods that are easy to grab. Have healthy snacks prepared and easy to reach in the fridge or on the table. Your kids will probably eat these instead of trying to climb the counter to get into the junk-food cabinet. And better yet, if you don’t have any junk food in the house, they will only have the choice of healthy foods to snack on.
Don’t Completely Ban Junk Food
Which leads us to our next point. Don’t ban junk food! When forbidden, junk food becomes more alluring to kids. This can contribute to an unhealthy relationship with food since your kids are more likely to hide food, sneak treats, and overeat when they get the chance. This also has the possibility of developing into unhealthy eating habits as they get older. Also, calling junk food “bad” can lead to kids associating feelings of fear with food, and they may not be willing to try new foods as a result.
Practice Reading Nutrition Labels
Teach your kids how to read food labels and make healthy eating choices instead of passing judgment and instilling a fear in food. When grocery shopping, have your kids read the nutrition facts and decide if the food is healthy or not. Your kids can benefit from this practice throughout their lives.
Teach the Importance of Balance
Moderation is key. It’s okay to have a treat once in a while, such as on special occasions, holidays, birthday parties, and Halloween. Talk with your kids about moderation, balance, and how different foods make your kids feel—i.e. when they eat too much Halloween candy at once, they get a tummy ache or how when they eat a healthy lunch, they have more energy to play for the rest of the day.
It’s important to establish boundaries with your kids early on. If they complain that a friend gets to eat chocolate every day, remind them that the rules are different in different homes. And most importantly, never use junk food as a bribe, and always model this moderation with your own eating habits. Don’t hide your junk-food consumptions from them and don’t overindulge either.
Ask for Help with Meal Planning
With time permitting, try to have your kids help pack their own lunches, giving them a choice between a few healthy snacks. This gives them a sense of control and pride over their food choices. Your kids will feel encouraged to make healthy decisions and be more likely to enjoy the food they’re eating at school or daycare.
So even though your kids have probably eaten way too much junk food recently, Halloween and Holiday celebrations only come once a year. If they have any candy left, now is the time to teach your kids about moderation. This way you won’t have to worry about them eating candy all day at home, school, or in a Kanata daycare, and you can help them start building a positive relationship with food that will last a lifetime.