If you’re trying to improve your family’s eating and nutrition here are some tips that help to change habits. (Habits are behaviours and behaviours can be changed).
- Eating is not instinctive. It’s a learned process. Healthy eating relies on being exposed to a variety of flavours and acquiring a set of skills practised and learned over time. Parents should try to lead by example: eat regularly (3-4hourly), sitting down (not on the run in front of TV), eat together (for the social and enjoyment benefits).
- There are no bad foods just bad food habits. Habits are behaviours and behaviours can be changed.
- The best family drinks for hydration, dental health and your pocket are plain water and milk. Try not to drink your calories or fruit, eat them instead. Juice, cordial, squash, flavoured and sparkling water, fizzy and diet drinks are not needed because they can contain acid (natural or added) and sugar.
- Try to “eat a rainbow” of seasonal fruit and veg each day. The colour usually determines the vitamins and antioxidants present so including red, orange, yellow, green and blue/purple choices every day e.g. some tomato, butternut squash, turnip, cabbage, blackcurrant.
- Try to eat more “whole” foods that look the same in your hand as they did when they were first made like milk and egg. Look at the ingredient section of your food labels. Try to choose food that has ingredients you understand and expect versus foods that have a long list of ingredients, some of which you don’t understand.
- Try to remember that as a parent you’re human not a robot. Try to make time to get it right most of the time.