Raising Healthy Eaters
In the Old Testament, God gives instructions to the Israelites as to what foods are clean or unclean. If those Israelites only had the access to food that we have today, would the instructions be different? 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” Knowing that our bodies are important vessels in which we carry the Holy Spirit, it only makes sense to try to keep it healthy and teach our children how to keep theirs healthy as well.
We could spend hours arguing over whether or not it is worth it to eat organic foods or grow your own fruits and vegetables. The basic truth of the matter is, however, parents set the rules in a household, and this includes rules regarding food.
As parents, decide on the meals your family will eat. As kids grow older, allow them to choose meals from a parent approved list. Involve them in the shopping and cooking process so they feel some ownership over the meal, too.
Snacks can be the place where parents falter. Set regular meal times and stick to them. We all know the importance of predictable schedules for kids, but regular meal times do more than just set a schedule. It also sets the body up for predictable spikes in blood sugar. Once the meal times are set, decide upon windows for snacks. Usually, we need a snack between breakfast and lunch, one during the late afternoon, and possibly one before bed. Think about the nutrients your child needs. If they aren’t getting enough fruit from their meals, snacks can be a great time to get those fruits into their diets.
In every healthy diet, there is room for treats. That doesn’t mean that a child should get a special treat every day, but allow them occasionally. Most dieticians agree that occasional treats allow us to feel satisfied with the diversity of our diets. We don’t want our children to feel deprived, but we want them to understand that healthy foods should be eaten far more often than treats.
In every home, the parents set the standard. The easiest ways to teach children to love healthy foods are to start when they are young and teach by example. Children who have healthy parents are more likely to develop healthy habits. Remember, you control the groceries that come into the house. If junk food doesn’t come in, it won’t be tempting you or your children. Teach them to protect their “temple” and take care of your own, too!
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