Suggestions for Healthy Eating in the New Year
Updated: Jan 22
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A very helpful thing that I did this year was to create a menu (maybe many of you already do this.) As I wrote before, I have a daughter who is 3 years and 9 months old. She is a little bit of a picky eater, and that’s why, when I want to introduce new flavors or textures, I have to try several times until she gets used to it.
My advice to parents is: don’t get frustrated if your children don't want to eat more than one or two spoons the first time they try a new flavor or texture. This is a great start!
Well about the menu, I wrote a list of the food that she likes to eat, and then I spread those foods out throughout the week in my menu. I don't include her favorite foods in all the meals because sometimes kids can get bored with the same food. This was very helpful, and not just because my daughter began feeding herself much better. It was also helpful because, as a stay at home mom, it can be exhausting to think every day about what to prepare for every meal. Making a meal plan for a week or a month at a time makes everything much easier.
One thing that is really important for me is the number of meals my family eats in a day. We aim to have at least four meals and snacks during the day. That means to eat every four hours or so. I want to keep this goal in my case because I know the importance of this in the nutrition of my family. Eating this way can help you to maintain a good metabolism in your body. Sticking to this schedule means your body knows it will be receiving regular food on a regular schedule.
The most important meal every day is breakfast, because you have been so many hours without eating (while you are sleeping). At breakfast, your body breaks its fast. Breakfast helps your body produce energy for the start of the day. That’s why you need to eat this first meal. I know many people don't do it because they don't have time, or because they say they feel nausea, but let me tell you, you just need to get used to it.
My daughter doesn't always want her breakfast as soon as she wakes up. She prefers to play for a half-hour first, and after that she is willing to eat her breakfast. Forcing her to eat is impossible because it just makes her anxious. If that happens with your kids, here is my advice. Just give them time until they feel ready to eat their breakfast. But don't skip it altogether. Believe me, they really need this amount of energy in the morning.
Between meals, I suggest offering children fruit as a snack. I have a nephew who is a teenager and doesn’t eat fruit. When he was small, we tried to give him fruit but he always rejected it. We assumed at that time that he didn't want it, but we never thought that this would become permanent. If your kids won't eat fruit, keep trying with different types of fruit. Another helpful thing is when they see you eating the same fruit.
Here's another tip: share meals as a family. It may seem like something very simple, but the truth is, it is very important for them. When you eat with your children, they become much more interested in eating their food. I can tell you from experience. When my daughter was small, I just used to feed her first. After she ate, I used to sit and eat. But when I traveled to see my family, we would sit and eat all together. I noticed my daughter was much more happy to eat all together at the table. I can guess that maybe many of you already knew this because many of you have family nearby. Maybe this is new for me because I have a small family (me, my husband and my daughter) here in the US. But I still feel that eating together as a family and sharing meals is very important for kids.
When it comes to drinks for kids, I try to keep it simple. Most of the time, my daughter drinks just water. I try to avoid juice or sodas at least for my daughter. Last year she had a dental treatment. The dentist told us not to give her sweet drinks because of the high amount of sugar. She suggested that if we do offer juice, to try to dilute with water. It is very important not just for our kids but for us to drink water during the day. This keeps us healthy, hydrated, and can help us when we have a cold.
Sweets and Candies
My daughter, like, I think, every child, loves candies. Whenever we have to go to the grocery store is hard because of all the candies that she sees in there. During the last year we have cut down on her candy. We found some sugar free candies made with Xylitol, you can research about it if you are interested. You can even find wipes for cleaning teeth. The wipes have a component that helps prevent tooth decay. So far for us, the Xylitol candies have worked well, and help keep her teeth healthy. But if you can just skip giving them candies altogether that is the best choice. And remember to brush their teeth at least two times a day.
Well, I shared with you what was important for me this year:
The number of meals during the day
Eating more fruit
Creating a meal plan or weekly menu
Sharing meals as a family
Taking care of teeth
Maybe some of the tips that I give you here can be useful for you. I really hope that you can use some of the tips for your New Year's resolutions. If you have some tips that helped you improve the way that you and your family stay healthy, please share in the comments.
This blog was written by one of our guest WIC mom bloggers, Guadalupe.
I'm Guadalupe, a stay at home mom of a 3 year old daughter. I have been dedicated to taking care of my daughter since she was born. I’m an internationally educated nurse. I like to read and run, but sometimes it is hard to find time to spend on yourself. I hope you enjoy reading my motherhood experiences.
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