Helping children learn to make wise food choices

Chicken nuggets and french fries can be a yummy and easy alternative to slaving over the stove, but did you know that eating too much junk food can be bad for you and your kids? While most parents know that teaching children to make healthier food choices is important, they often fail to recognize the reasons behind the idea.  

What’s wrong with junk food?

Eating McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s isn’t all bad, but when you eat there too much, your body starts to complain. You might not notice it, but each bite your kids take could be making them fatter, sicker, and more tired. 

Because fast food is mostly made by deep-frying, much of the foods your kids eat are losing valuable nutrients. They are also being soaked in high fat oils that can cause obesity, heart problems, and other dangerous health problems.

Another problem with fast foods, or junk foods, is that much of the ingredients used in their preparation are fillers and preservatives. These additives are meant to enhance food products by keeping them fresher longer, adding color and flavor, and to stretch production for companies, but in the end, all these things add up to increased medical problems for consumers.

How can you and your kids eat better?

Knowing all of this, making good choices when it comes to nutrition is the best way to make sure your body stays healthy. When your family does have to eat fast food or junk foods such as chips or frozen dinners, there are a few ways that you can make smarter decisions about what you put in your kid’s mouth.

Instead of fries, ask for fresh fruits or vegetables. Avoid soda and go for milk, juice, or water. Don’t super-size or add on extras like cookies, ice-cream, or pies. Chew your food well. This helps your body digest foods easier and lets you know when you are full so you don’t over-eat. Look for foods on the menu that aren’t fried, like salads, grilled chicken, or fresh deli sandwiches. When purchasing prepared, frozen TV dinners for your family, try seeking out healthier products with contain less sodium, preservatives, and fats. These may cost a little more than less nutritious meals, but there really isn’t a price tag on healthier families.

Finally, by making a few small changes in your family’s eating habits you can ensure that they have more energy, less body fat, and a better chance at longer lives. Be sure to talk with your kids about why eating healthier is important for your family and encourage them to make good choices every day.