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Children Should Eat to Live

by Lori Sciame | July 11th, 2011 | Elementary
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Mouth-watering fast food ads on TV beckon us into their establishments for the latest taste sensation. Soft drink manufacturers proclaim that their products quench a thirst better than water. Grocery stores tempt consumers with pre-packaged, calorie-laden foods by making them relatively cheap and easy to prepare.

This is just a glimpse of how food is portrayed in American society, and we are all getting fatter because of it. Basically, Americans consume too many calories, and we don’t burn them off. This is especially true for children. Children in the United States are fatter today than at any other time in history. This sets them up for health issues in later life; in essence, they may be the first generation that does not live as long as their parents.

You can strive to make sure your child views food in a healthy manner. How? Read on for a few important tips.

1. Eat to live, not live to eat!

I am sure you may have heard this statement before, but take the time to really think about it. Food is the fuel we need to live; it gives us the energy to do the things we love. We need to let children know that. We must move away from the idea that food is what brings joy or comfort or love to life. Sure, it’s okay to sometimes offer a piece of candy or a dinner out for a job well done, or for a birthday commemoration, but try not to give your child food to heal a hurt or to make a bad day better.

2. Fresh is best!

If you are confused about what foods are the best for your child, remember the outside aisles in a grocery store have the healthiest selections. Aim for fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, non-processed meats, bakery breads, and dairy items. Where parents get into trouble is in the middle aisles, where cookies and chips lurk. If you want to give your child the best, offer foods that have not gone through several processes before hitting your table.

3. Everything in moderation.

We all have heard about portion control. The same holds true for children. You can let your child have some sugar, just don’t allow them to eat half a bag of cookies or drink a liter of a sugary soft drink before a meal. You don’t need to ban all fried foods, but please, don’t let French fries become the only “vegetable” your child will eat.

4. Everyone can help cook.

This tactic is a sure-fire winner. If you want your child to value what he or she eats, involve him or her in the cooking process. Little ones can help make a fruit salad, and older children can prepare side dishes. It does take supervision, but in the long run, it is well worth the effort. An added bonus is that your child will be able to cook healthy meals for him or herself when it comes time to fly the nest.

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