October 9, 2012
Breakfast has long been called the most important meal for everyone. Whether the person is an infant, child, teen, adult or senior after a long night of being without food, the body needs breakfast to get it going in the morning. If breakfast is so important why do so many people choose to skip breakfast rather than eating it?
Choosing to skip breakfast is doing a disservice to your body. Not only will you have less energy for the day, you will also be less alert and could make you irritable. If you want to be at your best, whether going to school or work, eating a good healthy breakfast can help your day go better.
What are other reasons why eating breakfast is so important? Eating something first thing in the morning will give your blood sugar a much needed boost. Children who eat breakfast each day also do better on cognitive tests. Eating breakfast will also keep you from making bad food choices later in the day.
Some reports indicate eating breakfast may actually help you lose weight. People who skip breakfast tend to more than make up for those calories later in the day. “Breaking fast” gives your metabolism the signal to wake up and kick in gear. Even if losing weight isn’t a goal, doing so can help you maintain an already healthy weight. Remember as essential as eating breakfast is, it is equally important to avoid consuming too many empty calories like in donuts but choose healthier foods such as hard boiled eggs, fruit and whole grains.
Since breakfast is so important, how can you ensure you have time to eat breakfast each day?
* Think about what time you have to be out of the house. Set your alarm clock early enough that you will be able to get up, get ready and still have time to eat.
* Prepare as much of your morning meal the night before as possible. If you are too rushed for time you can always grab a piece of fruit and an ounce of cheese. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread would also do in a pinch. Your body needs both carbohydrates and protein
* If you don’t have time to eat breakfast, you can also keep homemade granola, trail mix or homemade granola bar in your desk, backpack or briefcase.
* Perhaps you’re not hungry first thing in the morning. Try eating dinner earlier in the day so you will be hungry when morning comes.
* When you don’t like breakfast foods, there isn’t anything requiring you to eat them. Eat a sandwich, soup or leftovers from the previous night.
You know how important breakfast is for everyone in your family. Parents face the task of providing guidance for their children in all areas of their life. Ensuring they understand the importance of eating breakfast is one of them. Remember, you have the biggest influence on your children and what they eat, so be a good role model and they’ll be more likely to eat a good breakfast, too.
October 9, 2012
One way to ensure your child will be healthy going into their teen years is to start them off eating healthy foods and developing good eating habits. However, children don’t always follow the examples their parents give them. Even if your teen hasn’t developed healthy eating habits, it is never too late to teach them.
Set a good example. Your teen pays attention to what you do and say. If you try to insist that they eat fruit while you eat a cupcake, they won’t believe you think nutrition is important. Let them see you making healthy food choices and they are more likely to follow suit.
Don’t bring unhealthy snack foods into the home. You may not be able to control what your teen does when you’re not around, but having only healthy foods in your home will make healthy food choices easier for them. Ultimately as a parent you’re in charge of what groceries you buy. Having only healthy foods at home will benefit you as well.
Establish regular meal times and insist that each family member be present. Obviously there will be occasions when your teen is at someone else’s home or out for dinner, but as a general rule, eating dinner together most nights of the week and focusing on each other is important. Having regular meal times can be a great encouragement for your teen to choose healthy foods.
Encourage them to eat breakfast each day. Experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Do what you can to ensure they eat it each day.
Make as many dishes from scratch as you can. Homemade meals are healthier than those created using pre-packaged items. You have more control over what goes into the meal as well as what doesn’t.
Enlist your teen’s help when preparing family meals. Once your child reaches their teenage years, it won;t be long before they have to fend for themselves. Take time to teach your child about healthy eating. Have them help you plan family meals, go to the grocery store to purchase the necessary items and then come home to cook it. These skills will be so important once they move out, there’s no time like the present to begin.
Keep healthy snacks on hand. Fresh fruits and vegetables, dried nuts, milk and other dairy products will give your teen the nutrients they need as well as keep them from empty calories from other snacks.
Experiment with new foods. Perhaps your family has never tried different ethnic foods. Perhaps you can try a different ethnic food once or twice a month. Encourage your family to try new foods and enlarge their palate. I’m sure your teen has an opinion, s/he may have tried ethnic dishes while out with friends and has suggestions. Have fun in the kitchen together!
Focus on the benefits. Without lecturing or being preachy, help your teen make the connection between what they eat and how they feel (and look like!). You might want to encourage your teen to read books such as The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Young Readers Edition. Young people are often concerned about the environment, so sell them on the fact that sustainable eating is better for our planet than choosing industrialized, factory farmed food. Tour a local farm together and meet the people who help make healthy food possible. Talk about food together, and have fun trying new recipes.
Even if your teen hasn’t always had good eating habits, you can start now to help them make healthier choices.
October 9, 2012
And, then again, there are always the parents who will do anything to keep their high-octane balls of energy entertained.
One other reason to get kids involved with meal planning and prep: Experts such as researchers from the National Institute of Health say children are far more likely to eat healthy foods if these involve dishes the children themselves have helped prepare. But when it comes to involving your children in meal planning, do remember that children’s palates are not as finely developed as adult palates.
And be prepared to re-discover your worn-out imagination!
Ten Tips To Help Get Children Involved With Meal Planning
* Listen to their ideas — Ask for your children’s input when planning your grocery shopping and menu, and applaud them for their answers. This makes the task of meal planning a little easier on you since you won’t be the only one having to come up with ideas.
* Make it fun — Children take their tone from you. Make it a game: Let your child help make the shopping list (on a special, colorful notepad); then take her grocery shopping with you and ask her to find the items.
* Plan ahead — There are some wonderful cookbooks out there specially designed and tested to appeal to children’s palates and imaginations. Get one, and get into the habit of going over recipes together before your shopping trip.
* Think and buy in miniature — Children are often enchanted by anything that’s more in scale with their tiny fingers than yours. Dolls’ tea sets, tiny drinking glasses, bento boxes, baby bananas or miniature knifes and forks all go a long way to making eating feel like play.
Make sure, once you get home, you set aside time for both of you to prepare the foods you’ve chosen.
Add a healthy, yogurt dip (a hint of raspberry juice helps enhance fruit or veggies alike) and watch your children eat raw foods with gusto
* Create a routine — Create a special time during the week for together-time food planning — and prep. Every Saturday lunch, the afternoon snack, Friday after school and Sunday morning brunch are all occasions to consider. Whichever time slot you pick, however, go with your child’s natural rhythm — don’t try to make your child get excited about planning menus over breakfast, if he’s just not a morning person!
* Make your own “fast food” — There are plenty of places on line to find recipes for your child’s favorite fast foods: Look these up with your child. An example: home made chicken nuggets.
One added advantage to creating it yourself — you can substitute healthier ingredients.
* Prepare a picnic — Even if you go out to the deck to eat it. Remember to include the “special” touches such as a cheerfully-flowered or checkered plastic tablecloth (you can get these at any dollar store); or little paper umbrellas for your drinks or fruit salad). Planning involves allowing your child to think up items like paper plates or pick that flowered tablecloth.
But if you really want your children to eat healthy diets, be their example! There is no use trying to convince them to snack from a fruit-and-veggie plate if you’re in the middle of breaking out the potato chips.
Children become not what you preach, but what you model. Getting them involved teaches them that food is a wonderful, pleasurable experience. Instead of nostalgic memories of comforting fast food French fries, they’ll turn to whipping up a quick and easy batch of fresh, chocolate-dipped strawberries or fresh banana in oatmeal as adults, during occasions where they need the solace of childhood memories to sustain them.
And that’s a priceless gift to your child’s future self.