(StatePoint) Nutrition is important for everyone, but especially for children, as it is directly linked to all aspects of their growth and development. Childhood obesity affects one in six children and adolescents in the United States. Though associated with elevated risks of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea, among other health problems, childhood obesity can usually be prevented.
“Families should focus on the importance of healthful eating and active lifestyles,” says Kristi King, registered dietitian nutritionist. “Parents can inspire kids to eat healthfully by getting them involved in shopping and preparing your family’s meals.”
Before You Head to the Store
Create a shopping list together, so kids feel like they are part of the decision making process. “Include food items from each of the ‘MyPlate’ food groups from the USDA, which include fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy,” says King.
At the Store
Once you get to the store, shop together and encourage children to pick a few new foods they would like to try. “Talk about foods’ colors, shapes, flavors and textures as you shop,” says King. “
Back at Home
When you return home, involve children in putting groceries away —especially foods that require refrigeration or freezing. Refrigerate perishable food items promptly and properly. “Explain to your kids the importance of refrigerating perishable foods within two hours,” King says. “And remember, the clock starts when you pull an item from the refrigerated case at the store, so head straight home after your shopping trip if you have perishables in the car.”
For more healthful eating tips, recipes, videos and more, visit KidsEatRight.org.