TV commercials are populated with junk foods and fast foods with little to no nutritional value. This constant viewing of advertisements increases the chance that children will beg their parents to buy these types of foods. Children who spend a lot of time watching television or surfing online are more likely to eat more, regardless if they are hungry or not. For parents, it is quite alarming because of the risks it may bring to their child’s health.
Many packaged and processed foods, which are high in fats and sugar and with no nutritional value are marketed for the young because they can be easily persuaded. Parents have a role in choosing the right foods which their children will consume. Balanced, whole foods are the best choice of parents for their children, which have a significant impact on their physical, mental and emotional development until their adult years.
Despite these outside pressures brought by modern technology, parents have the power to control and teach their children what to eat. Here’s how.
Cut daily screen time, including internet and television. By doing this, children will also have limited commercials to see. Another way is the use of DVR to record programs that parents can fast-forward through commercials. There is also a suggestive method in role-playing that parents can incorporate the eating of healthy foods. For example, they can act like little unicorns, and unicorns will only eat green leafy vegetables. This is an excellent way to condition their child’s tongue to eat nutritional foods.
“Teens spend more time on their phones and on social media, and we know from other research that these activities are more strongly linked to low well-being than watching television and videos, which is most of younger children’s screen time,” says San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge.
Unite With The Kids In Planning For Food Menu
It is nice to see parents and children bonding inside the kitchen. The children can wash and prepare the ingredients and the parents will cut and cook the food. This will not only increase the chances that they will eat the food they prepared but this will also give them knowledge in developing the food that they may use in the future. Parents and children can shop together but limit picking up processed foods. Eating together will also enhance the relationship between both parties.
Stock The Refrigerator With Healthy Food
Healthy foods must populate your kitchen. Avoiding junk foods is not enough so parents also need to introduce a variety of healthy foods that children may have access to. Fruits such as apples and oranges can be a great start. Also, parents can put dried fruits, nuts, seeds, or homemade granolas in the refrigerator. They will have no choice every time they are craving or feel hungry but to eat the foods available to them.
Celebrate Food Together
Food will never be absent in every occasion, celebration, culture, and gathering. It is a part of human interaction that is happening since the time of our old ancestors. Since it is an intrinsic human activity, it can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Foods served while eating together must be loaded with nutritional benefits not only to children but to adults as well. Dining together will also teach kids how to enjoy nutritious foods especially if their parents serve as their role models. It will help limit the times where they eat by themselves in a dark room in front of a screen. And mostly, this type of eating comes with processed junk food.
“An additional benefit of having meals together is the opportunity to catch-up with your kids and find out what’s going on in their lives,” writes Edward Abramson, Ph.D.