Sup­port­ing kids in healthy eat­ing

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Health - Pat Mac­In­tosh is a Regis­tered Di­eti­tian with Al­berta Health Ser­vices, Nu­tri­tion Ser­vices. She can be reached by e-mail, pat.mac­in­tosh@ahs.ca.

With kids back in school and win­ter sports get­ting started, we are again faced with the chal­lenge of feed­ing our kids healthy foods while jug­gling busy sched­ules.

Did you know that healthy eat­ing helps your child do well at sports and learn bet­ter at school? Healthy eat­ing also re­duces the risk of chronic dis­eases such as obe­sity, di­a­betes and cer­tain can­cers.

As a par­ent, you can be a role model for healthy eat­ing. By shop­ping for and pre­par­ing healthy foods, you can cre­ate a healthy eat­ing en­vi­ron­ment at home. You can also ad­vo­cate and sup­port healthy eat­ing in the school or recre­ation en­vi­ron­ments

Wher­ever pos­si­ble, try to get in­volved in your child’s school com­mu­nity or in their sports teams to help en­sure foods of­fered are healthy. Make your voice heard. Here are some ideas:

• Talk to your kids about why healthy foods are im­por­tant and why some choices are not very healthy.

• Pre­pare healthy school lunches and af­ter school snacks with your kids. Choose foods that have less added fat, salt and sugar. The Al­berta Health Ser­vices book­let Healthy Eat­ing for Chil­dren and Youth in Schools lists th­ese health­ier choices as ‘Choose Most Of­ten’ or ‘Choose Some­times.’ The book­let can be found at: https://bit.ly/2NVxAoa

• If you pur­chase foods away from home, teach your kids how to choose health­ier op­tions. Sand­wiches and wraps made with whole grains or grilled meat burg­ers are gen­er­ally health­ier choices. Choose en­trees that are grilled, roasted, baked, or bar­be­cued in­stead of deep fried. Pro­vide milk and wa­ter in­stead of drinks with added sug­ars such as pop, fruit drinks, or iced teas.

• If you are a par­ent sup­ply­ing snacks for a school event, fol­low the school nu­tri­tion poli­cies. Most Al­berta school dis­tricts have healthy eat­ing poli­cies that re­quire foods and drinks pro­vided or sold in schools to fol­low the Al­berta Nu­tri­tion Guide­lines for Chil­dren and Youth.

• Join the par­ent coun­cil at school or vol­un­teer with your child’s sports team to help make de­ci­sions about the foods be­ing of­fered.

• Sup­port fundrais­ers that of­fer healthy food choices or non-food op­tions. Ques­tion whether un­healthy op­tions such as choco­late, fast foods, or cookie dough should be sold. Th­ese op­tions do not align with the healthy foods mes­sag­ing be­ing taught in school. If you have ideas for health­ier fundrais­ing, make th­ese sug­ges­tions known. The bot­tom line is to pro­mote healthy eat­ing by get­ting in­volved at home, at school and in the com­mu­nity. Your chil­dren need you! Help your chil­dren learn healthy eat­ing habits that will last a life­time.

Help make the healthy choice the easy choice.

For more in­for­ma­tion about healthy eat­ing see healthyeat­ingstartshere.ca.

PAT MAC­IN­TOSH

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