Maintaining healthy eating habits for children ages 5-10 years old is an important challenge for today’s parents. Obesity recently has overtaken the U.S. educational system as two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are overweight and at least one-third are considered to be obese. These are alarming figures for future children as obesity is growing. It is why it’s so important for young children, especially from the earlier ages of 5-10 years old to learn and maintain healthy eating habits into their teen years.

Unhealthy foods from an early age give young children a bad habit for eating unhealthy food which they carry into their teens and twenties. This is the main problem for Americans. Bad eating habits and the rise of fast foods, etc. that cater to those unhealthy habits. Implementing healthy eating habits must start with young children. Parents who regularly expose their kids to fast food, processed frozen foods, or nutrition depleted diets should quickly change their child’s diet.

It is important for children ages 5-10 to receive enough vitamins and nutrition so that their body and brain develops within that time frame. A variety of fruits and vegetables, vitamin tablets, less on fatty foods, lots of calcium for growing bones, cereals, dairy products, whole wheat bread, no soda but 100% juice, lean meat, and fish are a good foundation. But most importantly, children must learn to enjoy healthy selections so that as adults, they can maintain their healthy lifestyle. Some tips to maintaining healthy eating habits are:

-Have a specific time and a specific place in the house to eat dinner as a family. Watching TV while you have your children eat is not something you want them to grow up to. Make sure that dinner time is family time and that no TV is allowed.

-Encourage your kids to eat slowly. This allows them to be able to know when they are rightfully full, and not just partially full from a really quick bite.

-Pack lunch. School cafeterias are notorious for providing unhealthy lunch plans. French fries, hamburgers, fried chicken and pizzas are many schools main dishes. Instead, pack the traditional sandwich, baked chips, 100% juice, and an apple. It saves you money in the long run and ensures that your kids receive a healthy diet.

-Make them drink water! Unless it’s 100% juice, most other sweetened beverage are loaded with sugar and, especially soda, are one of the main causes of obesity.

-If they don’t like vegetables, give them more! People today seem not to worry if their kids are eating enough vegetables because they can just give them vitamins to cover for it. But vegetables are packed with nature’s healthy remedies. Vegetables (and fruits) are know to be cancer fighting foods, can prevent loss of vision (especially common in young children who watch too much TV), gives your child’s heart much needed protection from future heart attacks or stoke, lowers blood pressure, and is a healthy source of fiber.

-Also, make sure your kids brush AND floss everyday. No need for explaining here but that it protects your kids from tooth decay, bad breathe, and gum disease.

-If you fear you child is overweight, do not panic. Young children need to eat a lot to ensure development and their bodies still have years to grow. Implementing diets this early in their life is unnecessary. Just make sure that they are eating right and that their eating habits are healthy enough to carry into their teens and twenties.

Giving your kids the right nutritional plan is an essential job for every parent. Ages 5-10 is an excellent time for children to learn the right way to eat and hopefully, throughout continues years of healthy habits, they will take these healthy habits into high school, college, and instill it in their own children.

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