We hear a lot about healthy eating today, but how many people really understand what it takes to be truly healthy from a balanced diet? Healthy eating has to be a complete lifestyle decision before it can impact our overall well-being.
It is best to adopt a healthy lifestyle from early childhood. The eating habits that a child adopts can often stay with him for life. Training your child to eat healthy can start as early as the breastfeeding stage. Many foods eaten by the mother pass into the mother’s breast milk. It has been shown, for example, that children whose mothers eat a lot of spicy foods accept spicy foods more easily as they get older than children whose mothers do not.
Likewise, if a mother eats a diet high in salt or refined sugars, her breastfed child will also have a preference for salty or sweet foods. You can start orienting your child towards healthy eating at this early stage in their development by making sure that you eat sensibly while breastfeeding.
It is once a child switches to solid foods while still and infant, and then through adolescence, that is essential for healthy eating habits throughout life. The way to encourage your child to adopt a healthy lifestyle is to practice healthy living yourself. A child who lives in a family whose diet consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, salads, whole grains, and fresh fish is more likely to continue this eating style into adulthood.
If a child lives in a family where the diet consists mostly of processed foods high in saturated fat, refined sugars, salts, refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta and too much red meats like steaks and burgers, this child is likely to form lifelong eating habits that are less than optimal.
Many parents make the terrible mistake of eating healthy enough themselves, but providing their children with a diet they think children love. Worse yet, some parents end up adopting a diet that they have tailored to their children’s perceived preferences. It’s very common to find a mom overdosed on pizza and fries, breakfast cereal, and sweet desserts just because these are the things she loaded into her children’s grocery cart.
Parents need to understand that children will grow up to enjoy healthy diets if that is what they are fed from the start. They will also grow up to enjoy the types of meals their parents eat. The trick is to eat healthy and feed your children what you eat.
Healthy eating is not something that can be done every once in a while if it has a lasting impact on your life. There is little point in having a salad once a week if the rest of the week is a diet of soda and junk food. People need to be consistent with their healthy diet. Every meal of every day should be healthy. It should not be seen as a chore. On the contrary, healthy eating is really very enjoyable and satisfying.