Parents should lead by example for kids to develop healthy eating habits
Teaching kids to eat healthy is a challenge for any parent. Children would rather eat their fill of candy and junk food instead of fruits and vegetables. Although it’s perfectly fine for them to eat a few sweets every now and then, it’s important for children to develop healthy eating habits early on.
Parents definitely play a big part in the overall development of young children. From the way they talk to the way they act, kids primarily learn by emulating their parents. This applies to healthy eating habits as well. The way parents talk about food, cook meals, and eat all play an important role in influencing children in developing healthy eating habits.
In a study conducted by Dr. Jennifer Utter from the University of Auckland in 2012, children of mothers who ate few fruits, vegetables, and dairy products also developed low-quality diets.
As role models, parents need to ensure that they’re setting a good example for their children by demonstrating a healthy attitude when it comes to food. Instead of eating junk food, grab some fruits instead and share them with your children. Show them that you enjoy these snacks and explain why they are good for the body.
But where do you find healthy, fruity snacks nowadays? Driving your kids to school, one sees fast food joints lining the streets and selling pre-prepared snacks. Even groceries are full of ready-to-eat goodies so you don’t have to worry about preparation. With food this easy to give to your kids, even fruits, which only require peeling and slicing, might seem too much of an inconvenience.
Fortunately, there are fruits you can easily serve without the hassle of peeling and cutting. Canned or packed pineapples, in particular, offer a great option for you to help the whole family form a habit of healthy eating.
These canned fruits won’t take much time for you to serve as snacks. But beyond their delicious flavor, convenience, and ready availability, they are packed with nutrients including vitamin B6 for energy, manganese for the formation of connective tissues and bones, fiber for healthy bowel movement, and vitamin C for better immunity.
Speaking of the immune system, research has proven that daily pineapple consumption can boost a child’s resistance against illness. In a study conducted by Dr. Leonora Panlasigui of the Philippine Women’s University’s School of Nutrition, adding two servings of Del Monte Pineapples to the daily diet of her young participants greatly improved each child's overall immunity.
The study showed a 27 percent increase in the production of granulocytes—a type of white blood cell vital to combating diseases—in children who ate two servings of pineapple a day. The result is reduced recovery time from bacterial and viral infections.
“Even a single serving of fruit a day could make all the difference with your child’s health,” says Dr. Panlasigui. “One serving is good, but the general consensus recommends two servings a day. It’s easy to build a fun, tasty habit with the kids that will benefit them in the long run.”
By helping the family develop healthy eating habits, you can be assured that even if your children eat away from home, they will always make the healthier choice.