Like most children growing up, your parents probably encouraged healthy eating in your house by making you sit down at the dinner table. While they may have not been aware of the nutritional reasons behind this childhood lesson, new research has shown that encouraging kids to slow down and to enjoy their food actually promotes better eating habits and better health. Here’s why...
It Promotes a Better Metabolism
Eating slower has actually been shown to promote a more effective metabolism, reducing your child’s risk of becoming overweight or developing childhood obesity.
Healthy eating certainly isn’t an easy thing to teach your children, but making them sit down at the dinner table is a great place to start.
When children sit down and eat a complete meal, they are likely to feel fuller longer, which reduces those cravings for junk food during the day.
If children rush through a meal, the less time their brain has to signal to their stomach that it’s full and satisfied. This makes your child hungry for more food two hours later, which leads to unhealthy food choices.
More time spent at the dinner table means less cravings later for unhealthy junk food.
It Helps Your Child Embrace a Variety of Foods
When encouraging your child to have healthy eating habits, it’s also important that you offer them a variety of healthy foods.
It is no secret that children can be picky when it comes to healthy eating, which is why more variety means more choices.
Have a variety of options available, based on your child’s preferences. Know what they like, and what they don’t, and find healthy substitutions for the things they don’t like.
The less they like something, the less likely they are to eat it at the dinner table.
This may require some research on your part, but this extra effort will really pay off in the form of your child’s health.
It Promotes Better Food Choices
Exposing children to a variety of different and healthy foods will help them make better choices at school, on their own, and as they grow older.
When heading off to school, have your child help you pack their lunch, especially if their school lunch offers unhealthy choices.
This will also encourage your child to sit down and to enjoy their food while eating at school. Even if you don’t pack their lunch every day, this will also help them make better choices when it comes to school lunch.
Instead of choosing French fries, they may reach for a side of vegetables instead.
Savoring the right snacks can also help them make better choices. At home, or on your downtime, eat healthier snacks with your kids. Choose whole grains over high-sugar and high-fat foods like cookies and cakes. Stock up your pantry or cupboard with things that are high in protein, and always have a variety of high-fiber fruits and vegetables available.
Not only will this help your child control their hunger between meals, but it will actually encourage them to eat less and to enjoy more of their meal when dinner time arrives.
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