Teach Your Children The Abc’s Of Good Nutrition

You send your kids to school each day so they can learn the skills they’ll need to grow into happy, successful adults. But one of the most important lessons your children will learn is taught not while they’re sitting at a desk, but while they’re sitting at the breakfast table.

Good nutrition is essential during childhood and parents are critical in helping shape the eating habits of their children. “I know how difficult it can be to get everyone together once your kids head back to school you’re running to pick up one child from soccer practice, take the other to music lessons and still one more to a swim meet,” says Geralyn Plomitallo, clinical nutrition manager of White Plains Hospital Center (WPHC), a leading healthcare provider in Westchester County, New York, “but eating together as a family is important to establishing good eating habits.”

Plomitallo says parents are the ones who set the example for children when it comes to choosing the right foods when they’re not at home. One important lesson to learn is how to handle sweets. “It may be difficult to keep your kids away from sweets altogether, but you can change the way they think about snacks. Give them a bowl of strawberries or a group of grapes instead of the usual ice cream or cake for dessert.” Keep in mind, eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t have that cake and ice cream once in a while. Plomitallo says, unless you have a food allergy, just about everything is okay in moderation.

The WPHC nutrition department offers the following tips for sending your children off to school with the ABC’s of good nutrition:

Ask your children to help you select nutritious snacks at the supermarket, such as fruits, carrots or pretzels. This way, you can guide them in making healthier choices that they’ll still love to eat.
Brown bag it -pack your child’s lunch when possible.
Control portion sizes -a deck of cards is a good reference for the amount of protein you should serve for a meal.
Drink low-fat milk (skim, 1% or 2%) instead of full fat milk.
Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables with meals or as snacks.
Fast food can have healthier options. Choose foods that are baked or grilled rather than fried.
Go for water instead of sugary drinks, like juice or soda.

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services the percentage of young people who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980. And overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. Overweight or obese adults are at risk for a number of health problems including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer. By starting your kids on a healthy path early in life, you can help them establish eating habits that will serve them well at any age.

About the Author

R.L. Fielding has been a freelance writer for 10 years, offering her expertise and skills to a variety of major organizations in the education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing industries.

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