HomeHealth & BehaviorHealth & Nutrition

Reader tips: Favorite ideas for healthy living

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By GreatSchools Staff

Growing, cooking and eating healthy food

"In my family we have 3 children, ages 18 months, 3 and 5. Healthy eating is important to us in this family, and the children are heard talking among themselves about eating apples and growing big and strong.

"We grow something edible every year. You don't even need a yard to do this. This year I found a strawberry Babylon bag. You fill it with dirt, put you're plants in and hang it up. Last year we experimented with squash, the year before that we did different kinds of tomatoes. This has not only educated the kids on agriculture, but it has made them appreciate the goodness of fresh foods.

"We explain the process of food to the children. For example, steak comes from cows. They are curious about where we get our food from. We have taught them that potato chips and sweets are not considered food, they are snacks, or treats. We don't eat them for meals. And we have a dessert night scheduled each week. Usually our desserts are made from fresh ingredients. By getting them involved in cooking the foods, you get them excited about eating the foods. They are very observant, and even if you don't think they could understand something because they are little, you would be surprised at the information they absorb!

"The third teaching tool is simply society! Look around at the stores, billboards and advertisement papers. There is an abundance of teaching tools to assist and back up what you teach your children about healthy foods! My kids often notice these things before I do and point them out.

"As most are aware of, healthy eating begins at home. As a parent you need to be willing to eat different foods with them. They may crunch their noses up the first few times you try to give them a vegetable, but odds are they will give in when they see how much you are enjoying you're healthy diet!"

Comments from readers

"I enjoyed reading this and it is very important that we educate our children on proper nutritios eating habits and what we should use to keep toxins out of our homes and businesses. "
"Hi, I agree with you that teach our children to read food label is so important. Today problems start from grown up to not read enough. Or before that they do not know what good and bad that they suppose to look for. I was that way before. After I got sick with Lupus, I study nutrition and apply with my daily life style. It is really work. My health condition does not bother me for two years. My whole family's health are improvement from just need to pay more attention to what will we put in our month. How can we inspire others to think more about good nutrition food. Besides most of school age children do not have good breakfast before go out to school. All we know that mind and body need to work together. Thanks"
"I think those are all great ideas. I have 2 boys 9 and 10. Frtom an early age I always stressed the importance of eating right just like my mother did with me. But to keep it simple for them, I have them count how many fruits and vegetables they eat throughout the day, we have a goal of 5. Then each night I ask them what their count was for the day and if it's not 5 I ask them what they can do to get to that goal. As my boys are very competitive they of course try to out do each other. It seems to be working, they're more aware opf the choices they make trhoughout the day."