Developing good habits at an early age is important for a lifetime of healthy choices
Children are constantly inundated with advertising for and access to unhealthy food choices, and just plain junk food. With so many social, cultural, and technological influences, parents are often left confused and frustrated. Are your children getting the proper attention and education they need to establish long-term healthy nutritional habits into adulthood?
Parents need to be armed with practical ways to teach their children healthy eating and lifestyle habits. Before you set out to do that, be sure to look at your own habits. Convincing your five-year-old to sit down and eat his or her vegetables won’t be easy if you are mindlessly munching away on some chips while juggling three other tasks. Take the opportunity to instill healthy habits every day!
Here are some great tips from Helpguide.org:
● Have regular family meals. Setting mealtime routines with the family is comforting and secure. Children who have regular family meals tend to eat more fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods, ingest more vitamins, and eat less junk food.
● Cook more meals at home. Home-cooked meals are generally healthier and set a great example for kids about the importance of healthy eating. Restaurant food tends to have more fat, sugar, and salt. Save dining out for special occasions.
● Get children involved. Children enjoy helping adults grocery shop. Let them have a part in what they bring to school for lunch and in preparing dinner. This is a great opportunity to teach them about the nutritional values of different foods, and when age-appropriate, how to read food labels.
● Make a variety of nutrient-dense snacks available instead of empty-calorie snacks. Make a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks, and healthy beverages easily accessible. Kids will get used to choosing these snacks instead of candy, soda, chips, or cookies.
● Limit portion sizes. Make snacks and put them into baggies for portion control. Don’t insist that they clean their plates.
How about a simple recipe everyone can enjoy? These sweet roasted chickpeas are a great snack any time of the day! Get the kiddos involved and have fun!
Maple Roasted Chickpeas
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried
1/2 TBSP melted coconut oil
1/2 TBSP maple syrup
1/2 TBSP coconut sugar
Dash of sea salt
Cinnamon to taste
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Place chickpeas in a large bowl.
1. Toss chickpeas with oil, sugar, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon until well coated.
2. Lay out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until crisp, roasted, and caramelized.
4. Toss with a little more sugar and syrup, if desired, after baking.
5. For a festive fall flavor, add in some pumpkin spice!
6. After baking, try add-ins like coconut flakes, dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips and make your own trail mix!