Put yourself at ease by protecting those you love
18 October 2017
Becoming a parent has its incomparable joys and thrills, but it does come with a set of challenges as well. One of the main concerns of new parents is developing good eating habits for their children. It is important to start early because these habits will be carried well into adulthood and can affect their health and well-being.
As the child grows, he/she needs a healthy and balanced diet that will nourish the mind and body. Healthy eating can help children maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain health problems, stabilize their energy, and sharpen their minds. A healthy diet can also have a profound effect on a child’s sense of mental and emotional well-being.
Eating healthy is important to optimize a child’s growth potential and brain development. This helps set up a child for a more successful future. According to Melissa Kaori S. Litao, MD, DPPS, who practices pediatrics at Alabang Medical Clinic and is affiliated with De La Salle University Medical Center, “The important thing is to know how to self-regulate, and to choose healthy, high-energy foods as opposed to candy and junk food. Research has shown that from infancy, children are able to self-regulate their calorie intake. Children are not naturally predisposed to gorge themselves on junk food—over-snacking is a learned behavior.”
Here are some practical tips to ensure that your children develop healthy eating habits:
“When they want a snack, give them apple slices or carrot sticks instead of candy or potato chips. Children always prefer what is familiar to them,” she says. As parents, you have the power, early on, to choose which foods will become familiar to them. After all, you decide what to buy and what to serve them. “Minimize the amount of junk food in the house. Children won't miss something that they've never had access to.”
“If you must give them juice, dilute it as much as you can. They won't know the difference,” adds Dr. Litao. “Most of the time, kids will be happy with even just a little bit of added sweetness to their drink. Of course, fresh fruit juices are best, preferably not with too much added sugar.”
Children learn what they see. When trying to teach good eating habits, try to set the best example possible by choosing nutritious snacks and eating balanced meals regularly.
Teach them portion control. Forcing a child to “finish what’s on the plate” doesn't help kids listen to their own bodies when they feel full. When kids notice and respond to feelings of fullness, they're less likely to overeat.
When foods are used to reward kids and show affection, they may start using food to cope with stress or other emotions. Instead of food treats, offer them hugs, praises, attention, or some quality time together.
Giving kids a lot of physical activities also helps to promote a healthy lifestyle, instead of a sedentary one spent in front of a television or gadget. It can be as simple as letting your child play outdoors with your neighbor's kids.
Teaching children good habits is important when it comes to financial health as well. For instance, teaching them how to save and spend wisely are lessons that will serve them well when they grow up. Having an insurance plan that rewards a healthy lifestyle makes it easier to maintain one. BPI AIA health and wellness initiaitives and offers incentives, allowing its members to earn points by doing healthy activities. The more points, the higher rewards you get.
To start earning points, the first step is to undergo health reviews and check-ups to assess your state of health. Then, set personal health goals such as establishing a healthy and balanced diet, scheduling physical activities, and learning to avoid unhealthy habits. Achieving your health goals earns you AIA Vitality points, which entitles you to additional insurance coverage and preferential rates with partner establishments. Of course, having a healthy lifestyle, sets a good example to your child, and being physically able to care for him/her, are already rewards in themselves.
To take the first step on living longer, healthier, and better, head to a BPI branch near you or check the BPI AIA Wellness Series.
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