Supporting kids in healthy eating
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.