Canadian Kids’ Eating Habits
Every parent wants their kids to have the best life possible. They want to set them up for a successful, healthy, and happy life, and we all know how important it is to instill all those good positive values at an early age.
Teaching kids to have a good and healthy eating habit is one of the more challenging tasks for parents. Busy lifestyles often make it difficult to find enough time in the day to get everything done, so it’s easy to slide into bad habits like eating fast unhealthy meals.
Unfortunately, those quick unhealthy meals can easily become a habit, and we all know how hard it is to break bad habits.
Kids are notorious for being picky eaters, and they will happily choose junk food rather than fresh and nutritious food. Therefore, it’s important to train your child to eat better and healthier food and routines that will have them preferring nutritious choices for the rest of their lives.
- Be a role model to them (important).
- Include fruits and vegetables in their everyday meal routine.
- Avoid the purchase of junk foods.
- Keep healthy snacks at home.
- Take them grocery shopping.
Not having enough time to prepare healthy meals is a big problem for many families with busy lifestyles. Parents often talk about how they feel bad about grabbing dinner at the drive-thru because they were exhausted, it was getting late, and they felt like there was no other choice.
However, there are other options for fast healthy meals and HelloFresh is one of the best. We understand the challenges of busy families and developing delicious, fresh, and healthy meals that can be delivered right to your door every week. We use seasonal, fresh ingredients with easy recipes and pre-measured ingredients. It couldn’t be easier.
It’s Important to Lead By Example
Kids learn fast, and in those early years they learn almost everything from their parents. That’s why it’s so important for parents to lead by example, and eating habits are one of the many behaviours that kids will learn from their parents.
There is more to it though. Here are ways you can help your kids develop a strong and lasting relationship with healthy living.
1. Talking about the importance of eating nutritious food
Talking about good health and nutritious food is all part of the attitude and relationship to healthy living that will develop with time. It’s best not to label foods as good or bad, experts say. Instead, comment on good choices for wholesome foods over junk food snacks. Talk positively about food in terms of nourishment and joy.
2. Go grocery shopping with your kids
Kids can learn a lot by going shopping with you. Talk about how to choose food by reading the ingredients label, and let them understand what factors influence which product you choose. Show them how to hand-pick tomatoes, apples, and other produce.
3. Cook meals together
Discuss food and meal planning. Go online and hunt for recipes with fresh ingredients or healthy snacks. Spend time cooking together and you can make it fun. You will nurture a good life-long relationship with not only food and cooking, but with each other as well.
4. Eat together
Families can strengthen their ties and build better relationships by sharing a meal together. In turn, they boost self-esteem by fostering a sense of belonging. During family meals, parents have an opportunity to act as role models and set an example of healthy eating and polite table manners.
5. Keep healthy snacks at home
Healthy snacks should be easily available. To keep kids from eating unhealthy snacks such as chips, soda, and cookies, stock up on fruit, vegetables, and healthy beverages (milk, juice, and water).
- Family environment
- Maternal influence
- Food preferences
- Education and awareness
- Early eating practices
Your kids aren’t born with a love for French fries and pizza, and a dislike for broccoli and carrots. They are conditioned over time as they are exposed to increasingly unhealthy food choices. It is possible, however, to reprogram your children’s taste and preferences for foods that are healthier rather than unhealthy.
The earlier you introduce wholesome, nutritious foods into a child’s diet, the easier it will be for them to develop a healthy relationship with food that can last a lifetime. You may be surprised at how simple and time-efficient it is. You can help your kids live healthy lives without making mealtimes into a war zone by following these tips.
There is no doubt that the family environment affects children’s and adolescents’ health behaviors, but the mechanisms underlying this influence are largely unknown. The availability of healthy foods, role modeling, and encouragement to engage in healthy eating behaviours have been found in prior research to be valuable components of establishing and promoting beneficial health habits.
The amount of food offered to children is often decided by their mothers. Mothers’ decisions about how much to feed and consume are impacted by a variety of factors, including their motives and goals. Research suggests that mothers are emotionally invested in their children’s eating habits, and the portion sizes offered to both picky eaters and good eaters differ.
Children and infants prefer sweet and salty flavours early in life. In many species of animals, especially in humans of all ages, sweet tastes are powerful stimuli. When foods and beverages are sweet, it increases their palatability, thus promoting intake. Bitter flavours, such as those found in certain vegetables, are rejected at first, but become accepted with repeated exposure. Genetic variations in taste receptor genes may affect how each individual perceives taste.
It is important that children are exposed to fruit and vegetable varieties from an early age and a limited number of non-core foods.
Education and Awareness
It seems that humans, like other omnivorous animals, are predisposed to respond negatively to novel tastes. Food neophobia (fear of novel foods) is the initial rejection of novel foods. It has been found that children are more neophobic than adults. Human food choice is often assumed to be influenced by neophobia, which is argued to have had an adaptive role. According to some scientists, neophobia may have evolved as a survival mechanism for our ancestors. Food neophobia is an instinctively protective measure against the intake of potentially harmful food items. Neophobia, however, in modern times can also prevent the intake of novel but potentially nutritious foods.
By repeatedly consuming novel food items, neophobia can usually be reduced. Recent studies have shown that an infant’s consumption of a new food increases the acceptance of other, similar foods. Introducing new foods to children will be most effective if it is in a familiar setting, since it has also been shown that increasing the level of novelty in an eating environment increases the reluctance that humans have to approach and eat a novel food.
Early Eating Practices
It has been shown that breastfeeding for 6 months or less can prevent low vegetable consumption in childhood.
Baby-led weaning, where babies self-feed family foods instead of feeding them through a spoon, is growing in popularity. When using a baby-led weaning approach, the infant is offered whole foods rather than purées. The child self-feeds by selecting and grasping food, and joins in family meals, doing so while consuming their foods.
Recent studies have shown that babies weaned with the baby-led approach were significantly more satiated and less likely to become overweight than those weaned with a standard approach. This was not influenced by breastfeeding duration, introduction of complementary foods, or maternal control. Studies showed that mothers who chose a baby-led approach have significantly different personalities, eating habits, and well-being characteristics.
In comparison with the traditional approach, they exert significantly lower restraints and are significantly less anxious. According to a study, parents who follow baby-led weaning report that their children’s food intake is monitored less frequently, and their restriction levels are lower. They are also less concerned with the weight of the child. When weaning infants using this approach, these characteristics may affect their outcomes, but the specific nutritional needs of babies must be taken into consideration.
- Creating a positive eating environment
- Being a leader or a role model
- Having a strict and healthy eating routine
- Availability of healthy foods and snacks at home
- Including fruits and vegetables in everyday meals
Creating a Positive Eating Environment
Home is where family meals take place. Thus, your children’s eating habits can be impacted positively or negatively by this environment. Using these tips, you can help your children become more food-conscious.
Planning meals can help you and your children eat better. Make a point of eating together as a family. Sharing and discussing the day’s events during meals is a valuable part of family life. Additionally, children are shown what an ideal balanced meal looks like.
The foods that children consume with their family tend to be healthier with routine food choices such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The risk of becoming overweight is also lower in kids who eat with the whole family. Children who watch television while eating, generally, make poorer food choices and are more likely to overeat and become overweight.
Being a Leader or a Role Model
The foods you eat set an example for your children. Include foods from all four of the food groups each day, including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean meats, eggs, legumes, and fish. Children are more likely to consume these foods if they see you enjoying them.
Having a Strict and Healthy Eating Routine
Routinely eating meals and snacks every day promotes health. You may find that your children aren’t hungry for their scheduled meal or snack if they eat whenever they feel like it. During the day, they may overeat as well.
Availability of Healthy Foods and Snacks at Home
Nutritious food and snacks need to be readily available. If you want your kids to snack on carrots, then have them washed, sliced, and ready to eat. This will lower the urge to grab something that is quicker and easier like a cookie.
Including Fruits and Vegetables in Everyday Meals
Keep fruit in plain sight. Store several washed whole fruits or chopped colourful fruits in the refrigerator to satisfy your child’s sweet tooth.
Take a look at the produce aisle and try something new. A healthy diet should be rich in variety and colour. You should strive to get one serving from each of the following categories at least once a day: green leafy vegetables, yellow or orange fruits or vegetables, red fruits or vegetables, legumes (beans) and peas, and citrus fruits.
Pass on the potatoes. Choose other vegetables with a wide range of nutrients and slowly digestible carbohydrates rather than these.
You can make it a meal. Include more vegetables in your new recipes. Try new vegetables and new recipes. There are many ways to include tasty vegetables in your meals, such as salads, soups, and stir-fries.
- Normal and healthy growth
- Stronger immunity
- Better brain and body function
- Low risk of malnutrition
- Childhood obesity prevention
Normal and Healthy Growth
Introducing new foods more often at a very young age will reduce the resistance to trying new foods. Being open to new flavours and textures will help to develop a positive relationship with healthy foods because the variety will become desirable. This will put your child on track for a healthy lifestyle.
Children who are malnourished often have weaker immune systems, which makes them more likely to get sick. Poor dietary choices can put a child at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes type 2, and high cholesterol. Avoid these potential problems with well-balanced, nutritional meals.
Better Brain and Body Function
Better nutrition leads to better academic performance. According to the CDC, children’s nutrition is directly associated with better grades. A healthful diet also increases children’s likelihood to attend school and pay attention in class.
Low Risk of Malnutrition
Malnutrition can cause a multitude of health problems including stunted growth, eye problems, diabetes, heart disease, and more. Eating healthy can help your kids avoid these problems.
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Children who are overweight and obese are more likely to suffer from major health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. You can reduce the chances of your child becoming overweight by teaching him or her good nutrition habits at a young age.
By providing your child with nutritious foods instead of empty-calorie foods like cookies and soda, you will help prevent childhood obesity and provide a higher standard of living for them.