By Chef Wendell Fowler, author of “Eat Right, Now!”
Your negative or positive eating rituals can and will sway a child’s eating habits. Chances are, if you have a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight, you will your offspring.
Resist the temptation to use food as leverage. Withholding food as punishment or giving it as a reward sends out a confusing message. Food should be associated with fun, adventure, staying fit and fending off the flu and cold bugs.
Eat meals as a family. Flying out the door to get to work or school? Set the breakfast table the night before so everyone can look forward to breakfast. At dinner time, shut down the TV and Facebook to establish dinner-time conversation and share the day’s activities.
Let’s your kids help in the kitchen. Children are more prone to eat what they've prepared. Spending quality family time washing, chopping, cooking and serving creates loving family relationships and memories.
Here are some quick substitutions for those less-than-healthy habits that linger in your family. Parents, instead of…
· ice cream; eat probiotic yogurt, fresh fruit, nuts and dried fruit to boost immune system.
· fast food, shop at the grocery.
· pizza; bake whole grain English Muffins with pizza sauce and low-fat mozzarella.
· grilled cheese with butter on white bread; whole grain quesadillas with low-fat cheese, tomato and chicken leftovers.
· soda pop; 2% milk or water.
· bologna & hot dogs; turkey breast.
· mayonnaise; mustard.
· diet-cola, fresh water and pure juices.
· chips: carrot and celery sticks, radishes, red peppers with light dressing.
Show how much you love your kids by practicing healthful eating behaviors. They want and need boundaries, and will love you for them!