As you’re reading this you may be snacking. You may have a bag of chips, a cookie, a celery stick or piece of fruit. Our eating habits are formed during childhood. Yes, we can change those habits but it takes work. Let’s discuss how you can set your child up for a lifetime of success.


We’ve all heard you shouldn’t eat your meals standing in the kitchen. The best way to build healthy habits for your children is to sit down as a family for dinner each day. Yes, there will be scheduling conflicts to prevent this from happening seven nights a week but do your best. Studies have shown this simple habit will decrease the chances of your child developing obesity or having eating disorders. Establishing a standard schedule and eating snacks and meals about the same time every day will help kids know what to expect.


What you put on your plate during these family dinners matters. Strive to have a plate full of color. The more vegetables the better. Potatoes (french fries) don’t count as these are a starch. Leafy greens can help build muscles. Vegetables have been linked to preventing cancer, a lower risk of eye issues, an aide in digestive problems, and a positive impact on blood sugar.


Try to mix up your fruits throughout the day. Most kids love fruit and it is important for their development. Fruit juice is not a substitute for fruit. Juice will increase the chances of cavities and can have other negative consequences like weight gain which can lead to obesity. Watering down juice doesn’t mitigate the negative consequences. Try to avoid juice but if you really want this sweet treat, limit it to a serving per day.


Kids love carbs. Why not? They are so yummy. You don’t have to keep your kids away from grains, but focus them on high quality grains. Marketing can be tricky so look for words like “whole grain” or “whole wheat” and try to stay away from “multi-grain” and “wheat” products. These higher quality grains will provide your kids energy and stabilize their blood sugar. Help your kids create a healthy relationship with carbohydrates.


Kids need protein in their diet. Focus on lean proteins such as fish, eggs, beans and nuts. It’s okay to serve other options for proteins but be conscious of how much red meat and processed meats you serve your kids. Try to limit processed meats like deli meat and hot dogs. Let those be special treats rather than the everyday lunch choice.

Be thoughtful in what you are feeding your children. Remember, you want the best for your children and want to set them up for a lifetime of a successful relationship with food. Provide them healthy choices so that they get to select items they desire while staying within your guidelines. As part of your child’s annual checkup, you can engage your doctor in a discussion about healthy eating. Our team at Healthstar Physicians Premier Medical is here to support your family and help you establish healthy habits. We’re Newport’s compassionate and experienced healthcare provider. We’re accepting new patients, and we accept most forms of health insurance. Contact us to find out more.

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