Back-to-School Lunches for Successful Parenting
When it comes to parenting, getting your kids to eat healthy, well-balanced meals can be a constant battle. “Children often learn healthy behaviors like eating well-balanced meals during early childhood development. As parents, it’s important to begin teaching our children at a young age that the purpose of food is to provide fuel for the body in order to have energy and grow big and strong.” says Wellview Health Director of Health Advising, Registered Dietitian and mother of two, Blair Blair. Naturally, children learn best when they are interested in the subject or topic they are engaged in. Thus, teaching your children how to build and achieve healthy, balanced meal choices MUST be interesting.
So here are six quick tips to help you begin working with your littles on eating a balanced, healthy meal whilst keeping them engaged and interested!
Focus on food groups.
Fruits, grains, vegetables, lean protein and dairy are easy ways for children to learn how to classify food groups. Try using a fun visual aid like Myplate.gov, which makes it easy for your children to create balanced plate.
Hands on play.
Children learn through hands-on experiences like play. Incorporating ways for children to be in the kitchen by allowing them to build their own lunch is one way to provide this experience. Try using a segmented lunch box and designate sections to fruits, vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates. Then allow your child to decide what food goes into each section, making it their creation.
A simple way to suggest kids think about balance is to have them focus on being colorful with their meals. You can do this by challenging them to have at least 3- 4 colors on their plate at mealtimes.
Make it convenient.
Kids are always racing around, so when they are hungry, they will choose whatever is quick and easy. Have “grab bags” of fruit or sliced vegetables ready to eat and available for them to grab.
Introduce new foods.
Try a new healthy food each week, and keep trying! Make it a fun activity by challenging your child to try a new fruit, vegetable, nut or other healthy food each week. It may take 10-15 tries before a child accepts a new food.
Be your kid’s role model.
Having a super-star example is vital for teaching your children a healthy lifestyle. Monkey-see, monkey-do! Blair shares, “children often mimic what they see in their immediate environment. Try to have at least 3 meals a week together as a family and not in front of the TV! Even if they don’t always eat their vegetables at dinner, make sure they are routinely part of your meals, and make sure they see you eating and enjoying them too!”
Click HERE for our healthy lunch recipes that your kids will love!
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey