Kids aren’t born with healthy eating habits – they learn from their parents. With repetition and practice, healthy eating habits can become a way of life for the entire family.
August is Kids Eat Right Month™, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Foundation focus on the importance of healthful eating and active lifestyles for children and their families.
“Parents raise healthy eaters, bite by bite, meal by meal, as children transition from infants to teens and then to young adults,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy Spokesperson Isabel Maples.
“Raising a competent eater takes years. Start by keeping mealtimes pleasant. Sit down regularly as a family to share meals, because positive attitudes about food grow from that. When there’s joy in eating, good nutrition can follow,” Maples said.
“As children grow, involve them more and more in the responsibility and decision making of meals and snacks. That might mean initiating teachable moments in the grocery store, enlisting your child’s help in planning meals or showing your teen how to prepare after school snacks,” Maples said. “Involving kids from the ground up gives them a sense of accomplishment and allows them to gradually develop key life skills about healthful food and good nutrition.”
Maples offers additional healthful eating habits that all families can begin today:
- Allow children to use their internal signals to decide how much to eat.
- Explore a variety of flavors and foods from different cultures and cuisines.
- Make food safety, such as washing hands, a simple part of every eating occasion.
- Teach basic skills for making positive food choices away from home.
###Kids Eat Right Month™, which was created in 2014, mobilizes registered dietitian nutritionists in a grassroots movement to share healthful eating messages that help families adopt nutritious eating habits.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation is a 501(c) 3 charity devoted exclusively to nutrition and dietetics. It funds scholarships and awards, public awareness and research projects and Academy strategic initiatives, and is the largest provider of scholarships and awards in the field of dietetics. Visit the Academy Foundation at www.eatrightfoundation.org.