The relationship between eating a healthy diet and positive health outcomes is well known; nurturing healthy eating among children therefore has the potential to improve public health. A healthy diet occurs when one’s usual eating patterns include adequate nutrient intake and sufficient, but not excessive, energy in take to meet the energy needs of the individual. However, many parents struggle to establish healthy eating patterns in their children due to the pressures of modern life. Moreover, healthcare providers often do not have the time or the guidance they need to empower parents to establish healthy eating practices in their children.
Based on extensive research, there are four key themes that encourage and support healthy eating practices among children in the modern world.
1) Positive Parental Feeding— explores how parenting practices and styles, such as avoiding food restriction, making children to try every kind of food habit and encouraging children to self-limit their portion sizes, eating optimum food at regular time intervals, can influence children’s dietary intake.
2) Eating Together — highlights the link between eating socialization through regular family meals and healthful diet among children.
3) A Healthy Home Food Environment— explores the impact on eating practices of family resources, food availability/accessibility, parental modelling, and cues for eating.
4) The Pleasure of Eating— associates children’s healthy eating with pleasure through repeated exposure to healthful foods, enjoyable social meals, and enhancement of the cognitive qualities (e.g., thoughts or ideas) of healthful foods.
This research leads to the characterization of the nurturing themes, and ways in which recommendations might be implemented in the home.
The home environment is considered one of the most important settings in regards to the development of healthy eating habits among children. The primary purpose is to explore parents’ barriers and strategies in promoting healthy eating in the home.
Themes emerging from parents were:
1) Parents are busy and strapped for time
2) Cost is a barrier in providing healthy food, but parents are resourceful
3) Children ask for junk food regularly, but parents have strategies to manage
4) Picky eaters are a challenge but parents know they have to overcome this barrier
5) Early exposure to unhealthy eating influences children’s food choices but strategies can help.
However, some parents also felt a lack of support from their spouses/partners for healthy eating in the home. Additionally, barriers and strategies were similar among parents of children from different age groups [6–9 years vs. 10–12 years (pre-adolescents)].
Some results suggest while parents faced challenges in promoting healthy eating in the home, they utilized several strategies to overcome these barriers, which are valuable for direct intervention to improve home food environment and manage children’s diet.
Adding on to this I would like sum up the ideas on how to develop these habits among kids through some examples and scenario-based cases:
1. Maintaining time and meal description– If the breakfast time is 7AM then that should be maintained. Also, if the child wants to have something not so healthy like a fast food, he/she should know that fast food timing is 4PM – 6PM. This will help the child in multiple ways like maintaining a healthy diet, a self-control and disciplinary mode of meal at the same time providing the satisfaction of eating something of his/her own choice.
2. Meal Presentation – It is always tempting to eat meals that look good or appealing to the child like if we want them to have a salad sandwich, we can make eyes, nose and mouth, if we want to give them oats, we can decorate it like an animal or something on a similar page. Similarly, if we want them to have juice or cold soup, we can serve it in a fancy sipper or a tempting bowl.
3. Story over meals – Children always love to hear new stories so we can always share a few stories while making them have meals. Tempt them by telling the story which in turn would motivate them to eat healthy. Also, these stories would motivate them with certain life lessons and moralities making food time filled with fun.
4. Family Meals – Kids learn a lot from what others are eating so we should always sit with them and eat our meals together that will make them feel that these foods are eaten by all and not specific for the child and even the child will get tempted to eat fast food if he/she doesn’t see anybody eating it. 5. Meals without Digital Platform – It is true that while watching TV or Phone children eat meals quickly and anything you give to him/her but it’s important for the kids to know what they are eating and how much they are eating. This will also help them understand more about their food by activating their taste buds and resulting in advancement of their brain capabilities.
5. Meals without Digital Platform – It is true that while watching TV or Phone children eat meals quickly and anything you give to him/her but it’s important for the kids to know what they are eating and how much they are eating. This will also help them understand more about their food by activating their taste buds and resulting in advancement of their brain capabilities.