Healthy eating for kids is essential for their development, there is no denying this. But how do we assure our kids are eating what they need? We came up with a fun solution that the kids are involved with, and (aside from immediately before a meal), I can always say YES to the never ending “Can I have a snack?” question us parents hear WAY too many times a day!
We use the Canada Food Guide as a consistent standard to make sure the kids are taking in everything they need for the day. You can order yours (or print the PDF) for FREE through the Government of Canada website.
We hung ours up on the inside of our pantry – probably the most frequently opened door in our house. The guidelines on the guide show the suggested servings of each of the four food groups according to age. (We also added on there 6-8 cups of water per day) – Once the girls have eaten their servings from each food group for the day, the rule is they can snack on whatever they want afterwards! The beauty of it is that by the time they eat their 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables, their grains, protein and dairy products, it is usually a snack or two after dinner until this is done, and they aren’t really hungry! The extra snack that may be unhealthy is just a little treat, and they just want a taste, as opposed to filling up on junk. This also helps them to develop their own healthy snack habits, and they are excited to get all of their food groups in for the day, so they actually want healthier choices for lunch and school snacks too! Which is great, because I have heard of some schools actually sending home letters asking parents to only send healthy meals and snacks to school.
With Halloween and Christmas right around the corner, we know sugary treats are going to be everywhere – and it’s hard to say no, especially during holidays – so this leaves it in the kids hands to make healthy choices on their own during the day so they can enjoy their treats later. The kids have fun counting and working toward the goal of eating and drinking what they need, are practicing and learning the responsibility of taking care of their own bodies, and learn about portions and healthy eating choices along the way.
Benefits shown in children that are properly nourished daily include:
-A consistent amount of energy throughout the day
-The improved ability to focus and learn throughout the day
-Healthy bones and teeth
-Get sick less often
-Feel fuller for longer (and healthy food is cheaper to buy than junk food!)
-Easier to maintain a healthy wait that is just right for their body
Let us know if you have any great tips on keeping kids eating healthy! Hope everyone can get some benefit from our wonderful Canadian government guide that is available to all of us for free. Wishing you and your family health and happiness!
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