Nourish a Healthy Child & a Healthy Weight
One of my goals has been to create a comprehensive checklist on how to raise a healthy child with a healthy weight.
Throw in recommendations for sleep and physical activity and your head will start to spin.
There’s always time to start a new chapter, however. Whether it’s the New Year holiday, a new school year, or the start of summer, there’s no time like the present to get your feeding and nutrition ducks in a row.
For example, you may have personal goals or resolutions in mind for the New Year.
Maybe you want to target areas for improvement around your family and kids.
Like getting chores on board, improving the bedtime routine, or a better system for organizing all the sports and activities.
I know, I know—I’ve been there, too!
What if Your Child Isn’t Eating Well?
I often hear from parents who aren’t happy with the way their child is eating.
They want to improve the food routine at home and help their kid eat better.
Or, I hear people say, “I’ve got to learn how to cook this year!”
(I actually heard the two female co-hosts say that last night on Extra!)
I hear parents say, “Our family needs to eat healthier…” Which usually means my kids are getting off track with their eating and I need to reign it in.
That thought leads to another…and another…and it goes something like this:
When my child doesn’t make healthy food choices, he may end up liking those unhealthy foods more.
If he likes unhealthy food, he will eat more unhealthy food.
When he eats a lot of unhealthy food, he will gain unhealthy amounts of weight.
Then the inevitable happens.
The Fear of an Unhealthy Child Takes Over
The fear of all these negative outcomes nags and nags at your conscience.
That may look something like this:
Then you set strict limits on desserts, sweets, and tightly control all unhealthy food.
Or, you become a zealot for healthy food, talking non-stop about the benefits.
Because you want your kid to be healthy…gosh darn it!
The irony of this is that many of these intentionally good efforts on your part backfire…eventually.
How do you raise a child who eats healthy food and has a healthy weight?
I’m not gonna lie. I don’t think it’s easy.
But I don’t think it’s impossible.
Why isn’t it easy?
You Need Food Facts
Because you have to know about food, how to balance it with the inevitable (and delightful) indulgences that life brings, while keeping track of that balance, day after day.
Yes, you have to know what a healthy diet for your growing child looks like, including how many fruits and veggies your child should be eating.
You need to know how many food groups your child should be getting so that his nutrient needs are met.
And where and how to draw the line on sweets and treats (and at what age, because it varies), and more.
The food know-how is essential.
But it doesn’t end with food, as you may think. There is SO much more.
You Need Feeding Strategies
For one, how you feed matters.
Did you know that the day-to-day way you feed your child has just as much impact on his eating as the food he eats?
You want to make sure you’re not making these mistakes with feeding, as they can derail your child’s healthful eating.
You need a consistent feeding strategy for your family. And, if you get off track (which you will…) you have to know how to get back on track.
You also have to keep a positive dialogue about food going, so that your child doesn’t get the wrong impression about it—that it’s bad, unhealthy, or forbidden.
(That’s a set up for an unhealthy relationship with food. You know that can lead to more problems with food and eating).
You Need to Guide Healthy Habits
There’s a lot more to raising a healthy child with a healthy weight–even sleep, physical activity and teaching about nutrition all play a role.
You see, it’s not easy.
There’s a lot to know.
A lot to learn.
But I’ve got the help you need–or at least a place where you can get yourself started.
First, I developed a program for parents like you called The Nourished Child Project.
It’s an online tutorial covering the areas of food, feeding and healthy habits. I believe its the foundational knowledge every parent should have as they embark on nourishing their child.
Second, I’ve created The Ultimate HOW TO Guide for you. Learn how to nourish a healthy child with a healthy weight using my ultimate checklist.
Just click on the button below and you’ll be on your way!
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: December 29, 2015
Updated on: December 8, 2018