Friday, July 20, 2007

Eating Habits

As a parent, I think the best thing you can do for your children is to instill good eating habits from the time they start on solids. This not only gives them a healthy start in life, it provides the framework to build upon for the rest of their lives.

When your children are at that inquiring stage of life, let them experiment with different textures and tastes - don't hold back just because a food is 'adult'. Let them choose. If they don't like it, they'll soon let you know.

When packing to go shopping or to visit friends or family, pack a small plastic container with different pieces of available fresh fruit - a few slices of banana, a couple of sliced strawberries, some kiwi fruit, apple, nectarines, grapes etc. Colour is just as important as taste. A boring container of just apple is not as exciting as a colourful one filled with the above fruits.

To drink, nothing beats good old fashioned water. If you are lucky enough to have access to rain water then great. If not, bottled water is better than tap water which can have many impurities in it. If you start a child on fizzy drinks at an early age, they will continue to want them to the detriment of their teeth and waist lines (and your wallet with decayed teeth).

If your children have started on the rocky road of being finicky eaters, pull them back into food variety immediately. Depending on their age, they may not remember past a day or three and if they do remember and complain, it won't last very long and they'll soon eat what's in front of them when they get hungry enough and remember, children need to eat often as they burn a lot of energy just being children.

Poor eating habits lead to obesity in both children and adults and obesity leads to its own set of health related and social problems.

Poor eating habits are just that - habits and habits can be changed. It takes time and perseverance, but the rewards are well worth the extra work.

Good eating habits doesn't mean boring food. There are thousands of recipe books in bookstores all over the country. There are no doubt even more recipes available online. My favourites are my mother's and grandmother's recipes (well, not all of them!) These are the foods I remember as a child and we all grew up healthy. We didn't have fast food outlets on every street corner to tempt us. We had good old fish and chips occasionally on a trip back from the beach but the rest of the time it was home-cooked food. These habits have stayed with me and even though fast food is available, it is more of a rare treat than a weekly (or more often than that) meal. This habit has again been passed on to my children who hopefully will continue it when they have their families.

Perhaps one of the most important things to learn about losing weight and helping your family lose weight is the fact that as an adult you are the role model. If your children see you eating potato chips as a snack or having a hamburger and chips for lunch, they will copy you.

If you are serious about losing weight, having better health and overall fitness, visit

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