Dr. Leia on Healthy Snacking for Kids and Children’s Nutrition
Have you found it is difficult to get your kids to eat healthy? Read some tips from Dr. Leia, and find a great
eBook offering children’s healthy recipes that are easy to make.
Question for Dr. Leia: I try to give my children healthy snacking choices, but sometimes
they just want junk food.
They are both girls, 7 and 10 years old. I really believe in a holistic approach to child development and
want my children to understand how the food they eat provides fuel for their mind and body.
For my children, nutrition education is something they should learn, but it is not really taught in their
school, at least not yet. What are some some resources that teach child nutrition facts that I might pass
on to my girls, and their school teacher? Thanks you, Patty.
Dr. Leia’s Answer: Dear Patty, I believe that example is the best teacher for your
children when it comes to eating healthy and staying fit. So this means that how, what and when you eat is
crucial toward educating your children in proper and healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices. Here is a series
of questions you might ask yourself:
- Are your eating habits healthy?
- Do you say one thing and then turn around and do another thing?
- Do you tell your children what to eat and then eat something different?
- Are you consistent in your actions and healthy eating?
How you raise your children in the pre-school phase of their lives is very important to their learning experience.
Consistency, persistence, patience, moderation, and constancy are important when teaching your children nutrition
guidelines. And if you find you are setting a good example then that is a great start!
Try not to nag them about their eating habits, but sit down and have a heart to heart talk with them about
the importance of healthy balanced diets. I am assuming that you have only healthy snacks and food in your
house, and that you have been consistently cooking healthy balanced meals for them.
If children are raised on whole, healthy, nutritious foods, then unhealthy food will not taste good to them.
I realize that it is difficult to monitor their eating habits when they go to school or are away from home,
and that they will go through a phase where they will want to sample unhealthy foods, but if you provide
them with good nutrition at home, then they will have the best foundation for the innate knowledge of what
is good for them throughout the rest of their lives.
One of the worst things which you could do is to forbid them to eat unhealthy foods, because they will want
to rebel against anything which is forbidden them. Rather, it would be more appropriate to appeal to their
sense of reasoning, and to educate them in the difference between what foods are good choices and which are
not such good choices.
Here are a few pointers and important facts which you could teach them about healthy eating:
- Stay away from sugary and salty snacks with empty calories.
- Do not eat snack foods right before meals. They will dampen the appetite and prevent them from eating
a balanced meal.
- Remember to eat at least 3 meals per day–skipping meals or delaying a meal will increase the appetite
for sweets and instant gratification foods and cause low blood sugar.
- Teach them how to make “healthy” snack choices and how to know the difference between healthy
and unhealthy snacks so they will be choose wisely. For instance: should they eat carrot or celery sticks
or corn chips? A sugary donut or a protein bar? Potato chips or whole grain crackers with nut butter?
A handful of unsalted raw nuts or a handful of candy?
- Allow and limit desserts only after a large meal which contains protein and healthy fats, and not before
or between meals, so that the sugar will be absorbed into the blood stream slowly rather than quickly.
You can also get involved in making healthy snacks with your children.
By Dr. Leia Melead