“Eat your vegetables!” — a classic, and common plea from desperate parents to kids with turned up noses. And yet many could argue that our hectic lifestyles and the convenience of packaged foods have quieted this age-old battle.
But just how important are fresh fruits and vegetables for your child? The answer is clear and simple: CRITICALLY.
The link between diet and health is undeniable. According to a recent New York Times article, many life-threatening diseases scarily prevalent today – heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers — are entirely preventable, even reversible, with a healthy diet and exercise. Take this alarming statistic, for instance, nearly 90 percent of heart disease is lifestyle related. 90 percent!
Preventing disease is all the more reason to ensure your child eats a healthy diet, and much to your surprise, doing so doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.
Help your child develop a healthy palate from the get-go.
Did you know that introducing fresh fruits and vegetables into your baby’s diet can set him/her up with good eating habits in the future? New research from the De Montfort University has revealed that babies who start on solids of fresh home-cooked meals are more likely to consume more fruits and vegetables throughout childhood than those regularly fed packaged baby food.
As the article indicates, there is growing concern that the prevalence of pre-packaged products has interfered with children getting their recommended vegetable servings. These foods are not as rich in vitamins and nutrients, nor are they as flavorful as freshly prepared dishes.
Such is why early exposure to a variety of fresh fruits and veggies is important to your child’s health–they stand a greater chance of forming a sophisticated taste for healthier foods—which in turn can lead to healthy habits and disease prevention.
How can you get more veggies into your veggie-resistant child?
There are fun and creative ways to ensure your veggie-cautious child is getting his or her daily dose of fruits and veggies. A recent study with preschoolers revealed that with the help of a food processor, you can easily fortify some of your child’s favorite dishes with vitamins and nutrients by mixing servings of pureed vegetables. A carrot here, a cauliflower there –they’re none the wiser and you can rest easy.
What else can you do to keep your child on a healthy regimen? Eat your vegetables! Children learn by example and they’re usually interested in whatever you’re having. Taking the time to make home-cooked meals can really make all the difference for you and your family. Promoting healthy eating will grant them the greatest gift of all—lasting health.
Want to learn more about building and maintaining healthy eating habits? Give us a call and we’ll provide custom nutrition counseling for you and your baby – 415.826.1701.