How Families Can Help Each Other Eat Better

kids healthy food

 

If your family tends to do a lot of eating on the go due to tight schedules, you may want to reconsider things. It’s understandable that the constant “around the table” dinners of old may not always be possible in every day of a modern schedule, but it’s still worth it to make an effort. Scientific evidence shows that children who eat with their families on a daily basis are more likely to see certain long-term benefits for their mental health and physical health. Along with these short-term benefits, coming together to eat as a family makes it a lot easier for you to manage what your children are eating.

Why is this so important? Well, for one, childhood obesity rates have never been higher, and a lot of this is due to two reasons. First, there’s more junk food available to eat, and second, due to the convenience or their own dietary preferences, it’s easy for parents to get their child into bad eating habits due to the type of meals that they buy or prepare.

On top of helping with weight issues, being able to manage junk food also helps with oral health. According to Redwood Dental, a group of dentists in Shelby Township MI, “tooth decay comes from microscopic bacteria that feed on sugars – glucose, sucrose and fructose. Artificial sweeteners like stevia are not part of this sugar family, so the bacteria cannot use them to grow. In other words, the bacteria in your mouth will not get any fuel from the artificial sweeteners. They can only thrive on actual sugar.

With this in mind, you shouldn’t set out to consume artificial sweeteners as a result of this. The fact of the matter is that we don’t know if they are good or bad. In fact, we don’t know much of anything about these. Part of the issue here is that at the moment, there aren’t any long-term scholarly studies showing how a lot of the common artificial sweeteners out there impact oral health, in both the short-term and long term. Because of this, it’s best to not treat these as carte blanche to indulge sugary cravings at your leisure. Instead, focus on trying to eat and drink substitutes in moderation.

With this said, eating together as a family and guiding what you eat isn’t just about trying to mitigate bad decisions, but introducing good habits as well. For example, one thing that every family should try to do is try to get their children comfortable with some of the basics of cooking from a young age. A lot of time, people end up being reliant on fast food or prepared foods due to a lack of knowledge of cooking. Many of these meals are high in unhealthy fats and sodium. However, teaching them about the basics of cooking empowers them to know how to make their own meals. In addition, it may be a good idea to try and get them involved in meal planning as well.

Going back to our artificial sweeteners example, while these are still on the fence as far as being an effective substitute, the fact of the matter is that there are lots of healthy substitutes that you can use for various tastes and textures in your food. With younger children, it’s not a bad idea to try and make this into a game. When you’re helping put together meals, teach them a little bit about nutrients and flavors and see if they can come up with ideas of their own. You never know what surprises you may get.  In addition, try to supplement your improved diet with other good health habits, like keeping hydrated and getting some sort of physical activity in. Together, you’re set the foundation for a healthy lifestyle without even knowing it.

Ultimately, when it comes to families trying to help each other, the proximity you have to each other each day and the knowledge you have of the type of motivation your family responds to are your greatest assets. Where you may fall a little short is the knowledge on what exactly is best to eat. The good news is that there’s more insight online that ever, but it’s also a good idea to try and get custom advice that fits you as well. To make this happen, try to back up the efforts in this article with a visit to a doctor/nutritionist. By getting an idea of what nutrients you are missing as a group, you can know what type of food groups to focus on in your meal planning. In addition, you can find out if dietary supplements are a good match for your needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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