Parenting Tips in a food-centered world

Food advertisements make an appearance in our lives every day. Food companies advertise their products on television, billboards, newspapers, and social media. Even as adults, it can sometimes prove to be a struggle to not give in to food advertisements because let’s face it; snacks and fast food are convenient, quick, and tasty. What type of impact does this mass amount of food advertising have on children? The companies that make food advertisements for children know how to get your children to want the products being advertised. From beloved cartoon mascots to famous athletes and celebrities that young people idolize, the sole purpose of children’s food advertisements is to convince your children that they should be eating the advertised product. This often leads to unhealthy snacking habits and an obsession for certain foods. Here are a few tips for parents who want to provide a healthy lifestyle for their children in a food-obsessed age.  

Pack Your Kids’ Lunch

Packing a lunch for your children means you’ll be able to ensure that they get a balanced, healthy meal at school every day. Remember to include foods from each food group: fruit, vegetables, dairy, grain, and meat. Highly processed meats such as salami or pastrami should be included rarely, if at all. It’s recommended that you include water or a healthy fruit or vegetable juice with lunch. Soft drinks typically lead to tooth decay and other health concerns.  

Treats in Moderation

Make the not-so-healthy snacks a “sometimes food.” This teaches your children how to moderate their intake. By allowing them to eat a little junk food on occasion, unhealthy foods won’t become forbidden. By implementing this into your children’s snacking routine, they are less likely to fixate on unhealthy snack options.  

Stock Your Snack Cabinet

By keeping your cupboards stocked with a variety of pre-approved healthy snack options for your children, they will be more likely to choose healthy snack options for themselves while at school or at a friend’s house.  

Establish a Meal Routine

Schedule a time for each meal that you can easily stick to. This will help to limit poor snacking habits in-between meals because your children will become accustomed to the schedule planned out for them.  

Limit Television Time

Your kids are more likely to reach for a snack while they’re watching television. If your kids are younger, consider limiting the amount of time and exactly when they can watch TV. For example, if your children watch television for an hour before dinner, they’ll automatically anticipate dinner time and probably won’t be as apt to ask for a snack. If your children watch TV before bed, they may focus their attention on eating rather than sleeping. Limiting television time puts an end to that. In today’s ad-focused world, unhealthy treats are often on a child’s minds. As a parent, keeping them from developing snacking habits and encouraging them to choose healthier foods can steer your kids away from the path of food obsession. By regulating the snack foods your children eat and teaching them why it’s important to monitor what they eat, you can set them up for a healthier future.