Ever hear of the saying “monkey see, monkey do?” Well, that kind of sums it up when it comes to kids eating healthy. This topic has come up in past blog entries, but I think it’s worth repeating since our own attitudes and actions toward healthy eating have a lot of influence on our children’s nutrition choices.
Research shows that eating habits children learn early in life tend to stick with them. Even before your child is exposed to television, his peers or other outside influences, he learns from YOU! This is why it’s really important to be a good role model and start him off with a strong foundation of healthy eating. We know he’s going to be exposed to some questionable food choices when he heads off to school and begins lunching with other children, but if he’s already got a taste for nutritious food it will be much easier to keep some of that stuff to a minimum.
Another way to influence young children is to enlist an older sibling to help. Younger children often mimic their older brothers and sisters so if they see them eating a healthy diet, they’re more likely to follow in their footsteps.
Finally, make eating fruits and veggies fun for your kids right from the start. Allow them to pick out their favorites at the grocery store and do taste tests on things like different apple varieties or red grapes versus green grapes. Experiment with snacks like frozen fruit skewers where you and your child select diffrent fruits like melon, grapes, berries and kiwi and place on a stick–freeze and enjoy!
Bottom line is if you make a healthy diet a priority for yourself and your family, chances are it will become a priority for your child as well someday.