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Ah, September….now that our children are back to school, we need to ensure that they eat healthily to prevent sickness and promote better learning abilities. Good nutrition is essential for proper growth and development in children; both physically and mentally.
As parents, we know that children can easily be influenced by their peers – if a young child sees his or her classmates eating a lot of sweets and unhealthy snacks, that child may be influenced to do the same. However, if at a young age, healthy eating habits have been established, it becomes second nature for a child to make the proper choices. Providing them with good nutrition and teaching them good healthy eating habits, is a lesson which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Research shows that 80% of obese children continue to be obese through adulthood and the main reason children become obese, is their choice of food. If we start educating our children at a young age the importance of good nutrition, they will continue to eat healthy foods and be more conscious of what they consume on a daily basis.
There are five basic food groups that are essential for healthy living. They are : grains, vegetables, fruits, meats, and milk products. The amount of servings a day depend on the age of a child. I found a great website that I can recommend for parents to look at with their child. It is nutritionexplorations.org. This website has good nutrition information and games for a child of any age. I did a session with my six year old daughter and she was able to describe the five basic food groups in a matter 10 minutes. This is an excellent learning tool and at the same time, we got to spend some quality time together.
One of the problems we face with many private and public schools, is the lack of well-balanced meals in the cafeteria. Some cafeterias sell a lot of sweets and unhealthy snacks. An easy way to help our children have the right amount of nutrients daily is making them bring their own lunch boxes. But what we put in those lunch boxes are most important. At home, we encourage our daughter to help prepare food, and now she insists on making her own sandwiches for school. Of course, supervision is a must a piece of fruit is always included in her lunch box. We’ve always incorporated many different types of fruits and vegetable in our diet, and our daughter’s curiosity eliminated her pickiness with food at a young age. Remember, children will imitate their parents, so if they see you eating healthy, they will most likely do the same.
This article was contributed by Mylyn Vedel, registered Nurse, 4th Dan Taekwondo Black Belt and mother. Mylyn as well as being a Casa de Campo Living contributor (which we are VERY grateful for), she also teaches a Taekwondo class at the La Romana Country Club, with her husband Peter Vedel and her 6 year old daughter Angel.