Right Bite expert on how to help your kids acquire healthy eating habits
Time Out Dubai Kids staff
Taking care of kids eating habits is as important as their daily activities, going to school and their social events with their siblings and friends and unsurprisingly, implementing a healthy lifestyle at an early age is key. Parents are role models for their young ones; this is why parents should have healthy eating habits as well. Here are a few tips to help your child acquire healthy eating habits at an early age:
• Introduce all the food groups to your child in a fun and colorful way and explain to them the health benefits: fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy products and protein
• Colours of the rainbow resemble the colour of the fruits and vegetables: ask your child to pick their favorite fruits and vegetables and have them as a rainbow every day. Aim for 5-a-day, which means your child should have at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables daily
• Never reward your kid with food and sweets, this will implement a bad habit and your kid will start looking forward for all the sweet foods and desserts
• Try to involve your kids in the preparation of their lunchbox to school. Kids who prepare their own lunchbox tend to like what’s inside more than others who don’t
• Take them with you to the supermarket. Be patient and expose your kids to the healthy sections rather than the sweets and savory snacks ones.
Is your child a picky eater? Try to expose your children to the same foods at least ten times consequently before giving up and serving them something else. Studies showed that this is how much it takes for a child to start liking a food. Try to keep healthy snacks on the dinner table, which will help your children identify the food they like the most by seeing it the most.
Tips for packing a healthy lunchbox Preparing a healthy lunchbox can be a bit challenging, especially when a parent runs out of ideas. However there are some essential items that should be in your child’s lunchbox:
• Water: encourage your child to drink at least two small bottles of mineral water while at school (around one liter) – daily recommendations fall between 1.5 to two liters
• Fresh fruits or cut-up fruits (one or two servings), try to cut them in a fun way (stars, heart/animal shapes) Tip: if you are packing cut-up fruits, a squeeze of lemon will preserve the quality and color of the fruit!
• A whole-grain sandwich or wrap with low-fat turkey and cheese, or low fat cream cheese, or low-fat peanut butter and natural fruit spread Tip: avoid adding mayonnaise to the sandwich; rather you can add some mustard. Also, avoid sandwich fillings that can make the bread soggy and unappealing for your child to eat
• A dairy product: low-fat laban, yogurt, milk, or fruit yogurt (with no artificial sweeteners) Tip: Avoid fruit juices (even if freshly squeezed), chocolate milk and flavoured water.
Get your child active Involve your children in a fun extracurricular activity at least twice a week. Also, play with your children, take them for an outdoor cycling activity, or a fun day out at the park or even a swim. Choose enjoyable activities that you can also do with them, as that will encourage them to be more and more active! For more information visit www.right-bite.com or call 04 338 8763.