It’s What’s For Dinner: Healthy Eating Habits for Children

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By Rachel Thomas

kidseatinghealthyYour role as a parent is more than protecting your children from immediate harm and laying down some ground rules. You are the personification of what children aspire to be. It is up to you to set a good example as children will emulate you more often than you may think. Proper eating habits fall into that category of protecting your children while providing them with a positive role model.

Unhealthy eating habits now can be extremely detrimental to the development of your child. Even with all of their energy, your young one could still become obese quite easily. With obesity comes a slew of physical complications that could become deadly over time. Your first act of a parent shouldn’t be to condemn your children to heart disease, diabetes and the mental damage from peer ridicule. How can you make sure that your children maintain a healthy diet during dinner?

1. Fast Food Blues – Although it’s incredibly convenient, you should stay away from the processed foods provided by drive through windows. While some of these are developing innovative ways to make the food healthier, it can still be damaging to the health of the family. Don’t let convenience decide what’s for dinner.

2. Portion Sizes – The portions of the meal are essential when developing a healthy diet. You can still eat your mashed potatoes as long as you don’t cover half of your plate with them. You can fill the bellies of your family up without excessive amounts of a single item. By mixing additional sides to your dinner, you get variety as well as additional nutrition. For example, you can make a meal out of:

• Three to five ounce of pork
• One cup of potatoes
• Two cups of salad
• An orange
• Glass of Milk

Depending on where you do your shopping for groceries, the above dinner could cost you far less than any drive through window, and it wouldn’t take much time to prepare. The nutritional value is superior as well. If you provide proper portion sizes, even the most elaborate of meals can be inexpensive for the family.

3. Less Sugar – Instead of providing chocolate and other sweets for desert, why not look closer at the power of berries and other sweet fruits? A cup of pineapple can easily sooth the “sugar beast” within you while provide a vitamin loaded snack. Oranges, cherries, strawberries and more are far superior to junk foods in terms of health appeal as well as cost.

4. Earlier Dinners – Eating several hours before bedtime allows time for your body to digest foods. This can help quell heartburn and indigestion problems of all kinds. A proper routine of eating needs to be focused on as later dinners could make one not hungry in the morning, which could cause him or her to skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast could alter how the day proceeds in the form of energy levels and even cognitive thought.

Of course you want to make sure that every meal is a healthy one. However, that may be more difficult during the school year as you may not be able to monitor what your child is eating when away from the home. By making sure he or she is getting plenty of exercise and eating a healthy meal at least once per day, you can help combat future complications and help your child have a happy and healthy lifestyle later on.

– Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to @