Parents influence what kids eatAll parents want their children to be happy and healthy, and providing them with healthy food choices is one of the ways parents can help. However, simply having healthy foods in the house may not be enough to encourage children to form healthy eating habits. You’ll have to eat those healthy foods, too!
By: Christian Rittenbach, NDSU Extension Service, Stutsman County, The Jamestown Sun
All parents want their children to be happy and healthy, and providing them with healthy food choices is one of the ways parents can help. However, simply having healthy foods in the house may not be enough to encourage children to form healthy eating habits.
You’ll have to eat those healthy foods, too!
Studies show that foods parents eat have a direct influence on the foods their children will eat. So even if you are putting healthy foods on their plates, if you’re not eating it, your children will be less likely to eat it as well. Fruits and vegetables are two food groups that are important for growing children to consume a lot of to stay healthy. Therefore, it is important for mom and dad to be good role models by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables so their children will too.
The same studies also show that parents who view their children as picky eaters have children who are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables. It can be important to not view your children as picky eaters, but instead view them as growing and developing their senses. Children may say they do not like a food when they first try it, but after repeated exposures to that food they may begin to develop a taste for it. Don’t give up after just one try. Introducing many kinds of fruits and vegetables into children’s diets will not only ensure the children are getting plenty of good nutrients from the foods, but can also help them from getting bored with fruits and vegetables that they eat over and over again.
Parents are also strong role models when it comes to their children getting enough physical activity. Children should be getting about 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Some of that time could be spent exercising with mom or dad (or the whole family). When children see their parents sitting on the couch watching television, they may want to do the same rather than go outside and play. When parents are engaged in physical activity with their children, however, it can be more fun for the children and they will be more likely to want to do it.
Although it is cold out and there is snow on the ground, there are plenty of physical activities that families can do together outside:
* Build a snowman or snow fort
* Snow shoe
* Cross country ski
* Have a snowball fight
* Make shoveling into a game the whole family can help with
Some winter days, however, can be much too cold to go outside. Here are some physical activity ideas for when you’re stuck in the house:
* Build an indoor fort
* Put on some music and dance
* Play video games that require movement
* Play other games that will keep you moving, such as hide and seek or Twister
For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Extension agent-in-training, at the Stutsman County Extension office: 252-9030 or firstname.lastname@example.org