Get a Head Start on Healthy Eating Habits
Eat To Live, Or Live To Eat. Teaching first graders healthy eating.
What You Need To Know
Eating is one of the most basic human needs. We will do it every day of our adult lives, and yet our ideas about food will often be formed as children. Parents can help their first graders get a head start on good health by teaching positive food habits which will last a lifetime.
How You Can Help
- Eat your greens. Your first grader will follow your example with food. So if you want him or her to eat their broccoli, asparagus, bok choy, or collard greens, make sure you eat yours. If you don’t like them, show respect to the cook by taking a small portion.
- Take your time. It’s common for first graders to eat more slowly than adults. Children are still learning how to use knives and forks, so don’t get frustrated if you feel that your child is a slow eater. Besides, mealtimes are better when you have more time to savor the flavors.
- Avoid rewarding or punishing with food. “If you love Mommy, you’ll take one more bite.” “If you eat all your lima beans, we’ll have strawberry ice-cream for dessert.” “No clean plate, no playtime.” Parents who worry about their first grader’s health can often get stressed at mealtimes. But rewarding, punishing, and appeasing using food can lead to eating problems later on. Be very careful about offering rewards for clean plates (danger of overeating), or making children feel better with an edible treat (danger of comfort eating). Use words and loving actions instead of food.
- Dinner is family time. Turn off the TV, taste the food, talk together, and give every member of the family a chance to communicate. Dinner can be a really special time to get to know your first grader and pass on your values.
For more information on teaching good food habits, please see the full article:
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