Healthy Eating for Your Family

Do you want your family to eat healthier? Wanting to eat healthy is the first step. Eating healthy is a habit. I tell families to start small with one or two habits they want to change. This may be something like sitting down for at least one meal together each day or drinking water instead of soda pop or a Kool-aid type drink. I have included some ideas on great healthy habits to start with your family. Good luck!

Why Is Eating Healthy Important?

  • For energy to learn and play
  • To grow at a healthy rate. Obesity is a contributing factor to high blood pressure and one type of diabetes. This type of diabetes is on the rise in young children.
  • A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and some form of cancers.

Getting Started

Try a meal routine. This may be tough at first. Set a time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Small children may also need a couple of small snacks a day. Most children are happier on a schedule, and become hungry at regular times. Plus you won’t have to be a short-order cook!

Look at what your family is drinking:

Use milk at mealtimes, a small cup of juice at one snack, and some water in between meals. Set a good example by having milk or water at your meal too. Keep the sweetened drinks to a minimum. They are "empty calories" because they don’t have any nutrition.

Tips for a healthy and happy mealtime:
  • Try to think of a way your young children can help with meal preparation. They may be able to wipe the table, scrub vegetables and fruits, hand you ingredients while you cook, put things in the trash for you. This helps them feel that they helped cook the meal.

  • Remember, foods are not “good” or “bad”. Don’t feel guilty if your favorite food is potato chips or apple pie!! The secret to eating healthy is eating is learning to eat high calorie or high fat foods in moderation (just once in a while). You can occasionally have that slice of pie if you are having variety and balance in your meals.

Early Head Start
Nutrition News: April 2007

From your nutritionist, Ann