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Jun-29-2016 12:00printcomments

The Importance of Healthy Eating for Your Kids

All ages benefit from healthing up!

Vegetables for sale at Salem's Saturday Market.
Photo: Bonnie King

(SALEM, Ore.) - Healthy, sustainable eating is all the rage, and rightfully so. More and more, people are paying attention to what they eat, and where what they eat comes from.

A more symbiotic relationship between humans and food, namely how our food is produced, is necessary in order to reduce our carbon footprint as a whole.

This healthy eating trend does not, and should not stop at adults, either. The importance of getting kids on board early cannot be overstated. Healthy eating can have a positive effect on brain development, plus it will get kids in the habit of sustainable eating early on.

Frequent the Farmer’s Market

There’s no better time to hit your local farmer’s market than in the summer months. It also just so happens that your kids are most likely on summer break during that time.

There are vibrant colors in all the produce and products, there’s a positive buzz in the air, kids can be hands on with food, and much more.

There’s an interactive aspect to the farmer’s market that can be beneficial for kids and parents alike. Don’t hesitate to get your kids involved in the process of choosing the food they eat, and a trip to the farmer’s market is great, healthy way to get that going.

The Aspects of Learning About Food

Another benefit of taking in the farmer’s market is that kids can learn about the importance of eating local, seasonal foods as a means of necessity and sustainability.

These are obviously things that can be taught at any time, but what better time to explain something like why a strawberry is as red and delicious as ever. Whatever the case may be, knowing when something is ripe and at its peak flavor is beneficial for many, many reasons.

Kids will soak up anything they learn early on, and the relationship between humans and food, and all that entails, is a wonderful thing to be teaching them.

Finding Great Recipes

The biggest setback in getting kids to try new things is presentation and flavor, which are really setbacks in getting anybody, at any age to try new things. Luckily, there are great recipes out there for you and your kids.

Companies like Hampton Creek make an effort to publish wonderful, delish, thoughtful recipes online. It’s simpler than ever to find great, healthy recipes.

Working Together to Make Dishes

The hands-on aspects of creating tend to be far more exciting for kids. Making food with your kids is a great way to get them to try new things, and it’s another way for them to build a relationship with the food they eat.

Healthy eating habits for kids are created and sustained in many ways, but getting them involved physically and mentally is both fun and rewarding.

Create a Sense of Balance and Consistency

As is the case with your diet, consistency is necessary in order to get kids on the path of healthy eating all the time. For instance, if you always have specific foods around, for better or worse, your kids will become accustomed to eating those foods. Obviously, if that food is healthy then there’s a greater chance of your kids falling into good eating habits, especially when it comes to snacking.

Balance is the key to any healthy diet, and that may be the case even more so when talking children in the midst of intense developmental stages.

Pay Attention to Your Own Eating Habits

The easiest way to get your children, or anybody else for that matter, on the same page as you is to maintain consistency in your own habits. This is especially true when it comes buying and eating food. As easy as it is to fall out of certain eating traditions or habits, it’s even easier to sustain specific practices once they become a routine part of life.

It’s just like any sort of exercise, in that once you become accustomed to doing it more often it becomes less difficult to maintain, and becomes second nature. Creating a sustainable diet, in terms of how you buy and eat food is as simple as paying attention to what you’re putting into your body.

This is incredibly important, as your influence on your children and their eating habits is second to none.

They will look to you and your patterns and follow suit, so make sure you are setting the right example.

Source: Salem-News Features Dept.


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.