Ways to Help Children Build Healthy Eating Habits

healthy eating for kids

Developing a good understanding of healthy nutritional habits early in life can yield many rewards to your children over time. Proper nutrition beginning at a young age can help kids learn how to add nourishment to their bodies as they grow and minimize the likelihood of lasting health issues in the future. Moreover, it can also enhance how they feel at school, how they partake in after-school activities, and improve their quality of sleep.

The team at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates knows that proper nutrition can positively affect children throughout their lifetime. Because September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we have included information to help parents and caregivers discover more about ideal nutrition for little ones, balanced meals and snacks for children, and lunchbox ideas for school-aged kids. We welcome you to read the following tips and schedule an appointment with one of our gastrointestinal (GI) doctors in New Orleans, LA for further details.

How to build healthy eating habits for your child

Our digestive health experts suggest a few approaches to help promote good dietary habits for healthy children. These include:

  • Involve your kids in the food shopping and cooking process. This provides the chance to talk with your little one about selecting nutritious foods and dietary labels while shopping or cooking. Such an opportunity can enable kids to have a fun time finding out about healthy eating while spending quality time with you. Furthermore, encouraging this form of involvement could reduce picky eating or food aversions given that your little one has a chance to learn more about the food you choose.
  • Sit down to have meals as a family on a consistent basis. Throughout the meal, maintain positive conversation so your little one does not negatively associate food with stress. Eating associated with stress might result in other issues later on.
  • Avoid treating food as a punishment or reward. Putting your child to sleep without eating to punish them or using sugary foods as a pat on the back for proper behavior could affect your child's relationship with eating over time.
  • Adhere to portion recommendations on food labels and review the ingredients. Educating your child about food ingredients and proper portions can help them learn how these factors affect their health.
  • Control snack times and the choices of food. While taking time to snack is an important component of ideal nutrition, it is good to schedule a set time for snacking and preselect the types of food your little one can snack on. Furthermore, try to have your child not eat while watching TV. Doing so could foster the overconsumption of food.

What healthy foods for children are recommended?

Our New Orleans, LA pediatric gastrointestinal specialists recommend a balanced eating plan that includes fruits, veggies, protein, dairy, and grains. When possible, it is important to restrict sugar and trans fat when eating meals and snacks. By eating a diet that includes these wholesome food groups, you can help your family members feel more energetic and live healthier lives. For parents and caregivers who prefer to plan, we have provided some of our favorite lunchbox choices for kids below:

Where can I locate additional information about healthy diets for kids?

On top of what we provided in our blog, our team members want to present a robust collection of resources for parents and caregivers, which can enable them to obtain the latest details concerning children’s nutrition. A number of the resources we recommend are listed here:

At Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, we believe in providing kids with healthy habits early on. Our pediatric gastrointestinal specialists frequently work with parents to create a proper nutrition plan for their children. Contact our New Orleans, LA gastrointestinal team to discover more about the positive effects of healthy diets or selecting appropriate meals and snacks for kids of all ages.