It’s no secret that most kids aren’t exactly crazy about healthy eating. Many growing taste buds prefer pizza to carrots, leaving plenty of parents and educators at a loss for how to get the children in their lives to eat better. From hip marketing campaigns to health food product placement— not too mention good, old-fashioned trickery— there are plenty of way to try to get kids to eat right, but there isn’t a sure fire method that’s proven to work.
To help parents in their quest for healthier kids, David Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Optimal Weight for Life program, recently spoke with Parade magazine, offering practical advice on ways parents can drive home the importance of a well balanced diet. Here’s an excerpt:
“Young children are like ducks: They do what their parents do,” says Harvard endocrinologist Dr. David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children’s Hospital Boston. If you eat junk food instead of fruits and vegetables, they will too.”
A University of Tennessee study reports that mothers usually refrain from offering babies foods they themselves dislike—so if you hate fava beans, chances are that your child has never tried them. Still, says Dr. Ludwig, it’s never too late to become a good role model. Explain to children that real foods—like fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, fish and meat—come from nature. Dr. Ludwig recommends that obese children keep food diaries, recording all of the sugary drinks and factory-processed junk foods they eat in a day. They’ll be astonished at how many they consume. Kids may moan, but they’ll get hungry and learn to replace cheese puffs with low-fat cheese.
For great advice on other ways parents can make healthy eating easier, check out the entire article here.