I believe that the best thing you can do for your babies is to introduce a healthy diet from when they begin to eat solids as recommended by the healthy eating pyramid. Statistics show that if parents maintain a healthy diet, their children are 75% more likely to follow same.
But… I’ve gone all next level healthy mummy. I try my hardest to check the nutritional labels on everything and stick to the one serving size – it would be awesome if I was able to do this with everything in the kitchen…. But – I’m a realist…. Andddd I know with 2 boys under 2 that ain’t gonna happen!
My eldest son was 2 before he ate anything that was even a little bit processed, and I’m not even sorry – not even a little bit! I have a well behaved toddler. Well – As much as possible for a toddler. Once we started to introduce processed foods, we noticed his behavior receded and took a week or so to readjust.
Benefits of raising your children to be healthy include:
- strong bones and muscles
- healthy heart, lungs and arteries
- improved coordination, balance, posture and flexibility
- reduced risk of becoming overweight or obese
- reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes later in life
All vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, some stand out for their exceptional health benefits. Some individuals benefit more from certain vegetables than others, depending on their diet, overall health, and nutritional needs.
Healthy eating can help children maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain health problems, stabilize their energy, and sharpen their minds. A healthy diet can also have a positive effect on a child’s mental and emotional health, helping to prevent conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ADHD.
Eating well can support a child’s healthy growth and development into adulthood and may even play a role in lowering the risk of suicide in young people. If your child/children has already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, a healthy diet can help your child to manage the symptoms and help control their health.
It’s important to remember that your kids aren’t born with a craving for French fries and pizza and an aversion to broccoli and carrots. This conditioning happens over time as kids are exposed to more and more unhealthy food choices. However, it is possible to reprogram your children’s food cravings so that they crave healthier foods instead. My two year old son loves fresh fruit & vegetables. His lunchbox for daycare includes:- Carrot & Hummus, A Vegemite sandwich on homemade bread, Sultanas, Strawberries or a piece of fruit & a sometimes snack (weetbix slice or any kids snacks down the health-food isle at Woolies. Most days, he comes home with an empty lunchbox.
We have started toilet training and the other day I hear “Mum I want hummus!” while he was sitting on the toilet – to get him to stay there he got it!
The sooner you introduce wholesome, nutritious foods into your kids’ diets, the easier they’ll be able to develop a healthy relationship with food that can last them a lifetime.
Since having my first child in 2017 I have developed a much healthier relationship with food. What motivated me to become healthy in the first place was how fat I became! I reached the larger size of 18 and not quite size 20. I completely lost my sex drive and was so unhappy in my overall self. I worked away at it everyday, I learnt so much about nutrition, fitness, mental & physical health and all the information that comes with it.
Whether your children are toddlers or in their teens, children develop a natural want for the foods they enjoy the most. To encourage healthy eating habits, the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing and fun. Using fun names for fruit and veg is an awesome trick! Broccoli in our house is called baby trees, mix different colours together to make a rainbow, incorporate their current favourite thing into it by using the same colours, etc. Be creative!
Here’s a list of helpful links to get you started:
Make healthy options available by keeping plenty of fruit, vegetables, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice) on hand – I don’t actually keep unhealthy snacks in my house unless it’s a special occasion. Don’t force your kids to clean their plates, and never use food as a reward or bribe.