Establishing Healthy Habits at a Young Age
How healthy is your child's diet? Here are 5 tips to establishing healthy habits to make sure your child is getting a nutrient rich diet.
It wouldn’t come as a surprise to you that our Western diets have changed drastically from those of our pre-Industrial ancestors. To match today’s go-go-go lifestyles we’ve started to consume more readily available processed foods that are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids.
The main source of omega-3s comes from oily fish, but can also be found in wild plants, eggs, nuts and berries—a diet that was more similar to our ancestors in the pre-Industrial days. Due to this shift, it’s also probably no secret that childhood obesity is on the rise, not only from poor diet, but a decline in physical activity.
It’s not all doom and gloom, because there are so many things we can do with our children to make sure we are not part of this rising problem. Here are just a few.
5 tips to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle with your child
- Practice healthy eating: Start healthy eating from the beginning. Get your child eating lean meats and good sources of protein like fish, eggs, beans and nuts. Provide healthy snacks, such as fruits and veggies every day, so they start developing that routine. And, only stock the good stuff at home. Not only does that make sure they always eat healthy, but it keeps you honest too!1
- Make smart eating choices together: Don’t make healthy eating feel like a chore, or that they are forced to eat those vegetables. Make the meal an activity—from preparation to eating together. If they feel included in choosing the food, making it with you, and eat it with you, they are more likely to enjoy the whole process.1,2
- Activity is just as important as food: Food is important, but it’s not the only component. Your child will want to be bouncing around, so let them! Get them outside and active as much as you can.2
- Be the role model: They already look up to you, so set a good example and they are sure to follow. Be their food and exercise model so they can watch your good habits and try to replicate.2
- Don’t forget to treat yourself and them: Although it’s important to limit the amount of sugary and fast foods, they don’t have to be eliminated! A healthy diet can be accompanied once in a while by a lovely slice of chocolate cake or other treat (not every day, but perhaps once a week).2
- Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Healthy eating 0-5 years. Available at: https://www.mcri.edu.au/parents/parent-fact-sheets/fact-sheet-healthy-eating-0-5-years?gclid=CjwKCAjwxILdBRBqEiwAHL2R8zc8_3QbxKsWyElSeQnEHHSB-kwatEmumhBStaoKXzcSzCDmFvvfKRoC3ZcQAvD_BwE. Accessed October 2018.
- Taste.com.au. Top 10 tips on healthy eating for kids. Available at: https://www.taste.com.au/healthy/articles/top-10-tips-on-healthy-eating-for-kids/179uscQx. Accessed October 2018.