Like all habits, eating healthily can be cultivated even before you start giving your kids solid foods. So teach them from young the benefits of eating for health so they can develop sound attitudes towards nutrition and exercise to keep their bodies fit and healthy.
Top Ten Healthy Eating Tips
As with most things, the key to good nutrition is balance and moderation. Here are the top ten tips for healthy eating:
1 Read labels. Nutrition labels can be a great source of information that helps you make wise choices. Learn to read them and understand the different categories.
2 Fat matters. Although everyone needs a bit of fat in their diet, the source of the fat makes a big difference. The healthiest fats are unsaturated - choose olive, canola or soy oils. Remember though, that even healthy oils are high in calories, so use them sparingly.
3 Sweets are not so sweet. Occasional sugary treats are fine but try not to eat them on a regular basis. Sugar and other sweeteners have no real nutritional value, are loaded with calories and contribute to tooth decay.
4 Lean is the way to go. When selecting proteins, choose lean or low fat meat like chicken and fish. Also, try to get some of your protein from non-animal sources such as nuts, chick peas, kidney beans and soy products.
5 Build those bones. Be sure to get sufficient calcium by choosing a variety of dairy products. Milk, cheese, yogurt and even the occasional ice cream can help you meet calcium requirements.
6 Fruit is a natural sweet treat. Unlike processed sweets, fruit is nature's way of satisfying your sweet tooth in a healthy, wholesome way. Enjoy fresh or dried fruits on a daily basis. Canned fruit tends to have added sugar so try to avoid this option.
7 Eating veggies. Eating a variety of vegetables is a great way to boost your nutrition levels, especially vegetables with a dark, rich colour such as spinach, broccoli and carrots.
8 Grains are great. Choose whole grain foods such as bread, oatmeal and brown rice instead of the processed types. Read nutrition labels carefully – 'wheat bread' is not necessarily 'whole grain wheat bread'. And remember, popcorn is a whole grain, so enjoy it but skip the butter.
9 Basic is better. In general, the less processed your food is, the better. A piece of fresh fruit is better than fruit juice, which is far better than chewy fruit sweets. Keep it simple and you'll always be on the winning side.
10 Moderation is the way to go. There is nothing harmful about a rare indulgence. A generous slice of birthday cake or a double scoop of ice cream once in a while is allowed. Just don't do it every day or on a regular basis. Let your family's diet contain choices from healthy, natural, whole foods and then you won't have to feel guilty when you choose to include the occasional sweet treat.
Age Matters In A Diet Plan
Nutritional guidelines will vary slightly for the different members of the family. Adult bodies have different needs from those of teenagers, school-going kids, toddlers and babies. Check with your family doctor for specific recommendations for each of your family members based not just on age, but also on overall health and condition. From there, you will be able to formulate a diet plan that will enhance everyone's potential for robust health and energy.