Research has shown that children imitate their parents’ eating habits from a very early age. Although this may seem intimidating, modeling healthy eating behaviors can often be as simple as incorporating the advice you give to your children on a daily basis into your own life.
Becoming a Healthy Eater by Eating Like A Kid
Keep Sweets in Moderation. Sweets taste great, but you would never let your child eat unlimited amounts of them. The same should apply to you. Keep your sweets in check and look to indulge your sweet tooth in more creative ways. Many fruits, nuts, and spices can add a hint of sweet to some of your favorite dishes. This will help save you many empty calories in the long run and give you the opportunity to seek out more nutritionally dense foods when hunger strikes.
Drink More Water. Many beverages currently lining the shelves of grocery store chains are often high in calories and sugar that add calories without filling you up. Even those beverages sweetened with artificial sweeteners can cause an increase in appetite and desire for sugar. Just like eating too many sweets, this can lead to unwanted weight gain. Instead, stick with water. Add a squeeze of lemon or consider flavoring a glass with just a dash of your favorite 100% fruit juice. Your children will also be more likely to stick with water if they see you making it your drink of choice.
Try New Things. You’re never too old to try new foods. Even foods you tried and disliked as a child should be given a second chance. Don’t be afraid to try different brands or preparation styles as well. This will help keep your meal plan varied and encourage your child to always be adventurous when it comes to what they eat. After all, you never know what you like until you try it.
Play With Your Food. When was the last time you played with your food? Although you may be too grown up to make funny-faced pancakes, you’re never too grown up to get creative. Mix and match new ingredients with old favorites. Seek out recipes from friends and family. Go online for inspiration. Playing with your food can help you find your healthy eating niche.
Plan Your Snacks. Parents are often encouraged to set planned snack times for their children so that they are not grazing on food all day long. Planning out snacks can also be helpful for adults because it can reduce the mindless eating that often occurs when a healthy eating plan isn’t in place. Allowing yourself set times to think about food can help you adequately identify whether you are truly hungry or merely bored. This will give you better control of what and how much you eat throughout the day.
Ask Questions. Children ask questions all the time to figure out what’s happening in the world around them. When it comes to eating healthy, reaching out to nutrition experts when you have a question or a concern can help ensure that you remain on the right path towards your healthy eating goals. To find a nutrition expert in your area, use the ‘find an RD’ function on the American Dietetic Association’s website.
December 12th, 2011