By Becky McLaughlin
“What’s for dinner?!” “I’m starving!!” “We never have any good food!!!”
Sound familiar? If you have children, and especially if you’ve spent more time at home with them than usual lately, these statements are probably pretty typical. They may also be a source of great annoyance and stress for parents. Taking the time to plan and prepare three square meals a day while your kids spoil their appetite on sugary snacks is enough to push even the best mothers and fathers to give up and call the pizza guy. However, the way you address these innocent statements is instrumental in establishing your child’s overall health and the eating habits they take with them into adulthood.
One thing all humans have in common is that we need to eat to live. Another commonality is that the quality of our lives is greatly impacted by the food choices we make. Educating young children about nutrition and healthy choices is as important to their health as what you feed them. As a parent with seven children, I sympathize with the daily struggle of creating healthy meals everyone will eat. However, I’m also acutely aware that obesity is a huge problem in adolescents between the ages of two and nineteen and that childhood obesity more often than not leads to obesity in adulthood. This is a serious issue as overweight adults are at much greater risk of developing a variety of chronic conditions such as blood sugar issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and heart disease. This is why modeling good eating behaviors and teaching your children how and why to make good food choices is critically important—it ensures they have every opportunity to experience a lifetime of vibrant health.
One effective way to teach your kids about good nutrition is to give them a say in what your family eats. By bringing your kids to the grocery store and allowing them to choose new, healthy ingredients they want to try, you not only get a chance to teach them about what they put into their bodies, but also give them a chance to get excited about the meal making process itself. When children are invested in their meals, they are far more likely to care what’s in them. Needless to say, there is also a huge responsibility on the adults of the house to model the eating behaviors they want their children to mimic. If parents set good nutritional examples and bring healthy foods into the home, their kids will have a better chance of growing up with similar habits.
Another easy way to educate your children is to have family mealtimes whenever possible. This provides a consistent opportunity to talk to your children about the health benefits of the meal in front of them. You can also teach and encourage your kids to cook for themselves. Not only is this a fun excuse for family bonding time, it also provides your children with the tools necessary to prepare meals for themselves and to avoid fast, processed foods in the future. Speaking of processed foods, teaching your kids about the health dangers of sugar-packed beverages like soda, sports drinks, and specialty “coffee” drinks from the time they are little is of the utmost importance. These drinks, while tasty, are some of the leading causes of obesity in America today. While it’s not as glamorous, there is no alternative to staying hydrated with water.
Is it always easy to prepare homemade, healthy meals for your family? No. Even when you do, do they always appreciate them? Absolutely not! However, parenthood isn’t easy and nutrition needs to be treated with all the seriousness of any other life-altering decision.
Here at Chiropractic Health and Wellness we care about every member of your family and would love to provide each and every one of them with nutritional support and guidance. As a person’s nutritional needs change with age, it becomes difficult to determine the exact assistance they need. We offer complimentary nutritional consultations to all of our new and existing patients to help pinpoint the areas in need of support and to provide them with a roadmap towards better health. Whether it’s weight loss, nutritional counseling, or food sensitivity testing, we can help your whole family get on track to a better quality of life!
So schedule your Free Exam and Consult with one of our chiropractors click here.