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Child Nutrition = Foundation of Health; how to introduce healthy eating habits to your child(ren)

July 12, 2012

Introducing healthy eating habits to your child(ren) can be fun. By incorporating growing, choosing, buying, and making food into family activities and involving your child with these activities, children will feel empowered and enjoy being part of the "team" rather than being followers under the "rules" made by their parents. Kids adapt to new ideas quickly especially when the messengers (you) are very enthusiastic and positive about the topics.

Practical suggestions

• Provide a range of healthy snacks that the teenager can grab for themselves - a variety of whole wheat cereals, different breads, fresh fruit, fat free yogurt etc. 
• If they really love junk food, cook your own at home rather than allowing them takeouts. Use lean steak to make burgers, serve on a whole wheat bun with lots of salad. Make your own oven chips by cutting potatoes into thick chips, spray with light cooking spray and cook in a hot oven. 
• If they eat at school, find out what choices are available and talk to them about the best choices to make. Don't insist they take a packed lunch if this makes them uncomfortable. Remember what it was like at school - kids like to be the same, they don't want to stand out. 
• Fast foods need not be fattening - buy a pizza base and put your own low fat toppings. 
• Marinade the meat to enhance flavors instead of frying.
• Make your own popcorn using half the normal amount of oil. 
• If you know your child loves a particular dish which is high in fat, don't cut it out completely. Talk to your child(ren) about the healthy and the not so healthy choices. Kids listen to you more than you realize especially when you act as their role model yourself. Gradually decreasing the amount of the not so healthy items and include it in small amount in his/her diet every couple of weeks. 
• Make a healthy fizzy drink by mixing one-third fruit juice with two-thirds fizzy water. If they are still cannot quit soda just yet. 

• Encourage them to use the blender to make their own shakes. Use any soft fruit, banana, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, blend with fat-free milk and top with a scoop of low-fat ice-cream. 

• Get a set of ice-pop moulds, fill them with fruit juice and freeze for a delicious cool ice. 
• For a more sophisticated snack, mix dried fruits with seeds - use sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds.
• Lots and lots of praise and encouragements for your kid(s) healthy behavior, how proud you are of them, and how good those healthy items are for their body.

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