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Healthy eating for kids: How to talk to them about good food habits

May 28, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Instilling a lifelong love for healthy foods in your kids means starting early with modeling positive eating behaviors, creating a structured eating environment and encouraging them to eat for satisfaction, not for an external reward.

By modeling, parents can give kids a framework to help set their little ones up healthy eating habits as they mature.

In short, it's not just about what food kids eat.

It comes down to this: "Don't make (your kids) eat when they don't want to," Wood said.

But in trying to coerce kids into eating healthy foods such as whole grains or vegetables, parents could inadvertently make their children overeat.

Habits like those can make kids become overweight "even if the foods are healthy," Wood said.

"During that time, if your goal as a parent is to say come hell or high water, you kids have to eat healthy, then you have to use tactics to get them to eat those foods," Wood said.

Here are some ways to instill a love for those foods — in the right amounts — in kids to foster a lifetime of healthy eating:

Serve healthy food consistently: Kids with a sweet tooth might not gravitate toward vegetables, but you can nudge them along first by serving healthy foods without expectation that kids have to eat them.

Along with eating healthy foods, the AHA's dietary recommendations also suggest being physically active for at least 60 minutes per day.

And one way to get the whole family involved in health eating is to plant a home vegetable garden and show your kids how to tend to it.

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