Most parents are aware how important fitness and football are for their children, as children need to have exercise and if possible be part of a football team, but somethings we are incline to forget about healthy eating.

Eating well can be hard, family schedules are so hectic today – grab and go food is readily available.  Whether you have teens or toddlers, it is important to plan regular family meals, be a role model and serve healthy foods and snacks.

Make your family meals a comforting ritual and take the opportunity to catch up with your kids as kids like the predictability of family meals.  Family meals gives parents a chance to introduce new healthy foods to their kids and they are more likely to snack less on unhealthy foods and eat more fruits, grains and vegetables.  Health conscious kids are less likely to smoke, use alcohol or marijuana.

Teenagers will probably turn up their noses at the prospect of a family meal, which is not surprising as they want to be more independent, but they still want their parents’ advice and family meals are a chance to reconnect.  A good idea is to tell your teens to invite a friend to dinner, involve them in the planning and preparation of the meal.  Always keep mealtimes calm and friendly, avoid arguing and lectures.

Plan your family meals to accommodate a teen who has sports practice for a little later or even set aside time on the weekends when it may be more convenient to gather as a group.

Young kids will eat mostly what’s available at home, this is why it is so important to ensure that you have healthy snacks stocked up. By keeping vegetables, fruit, low-fat yogurt, cheese, whole-grain crackers and peanut butter on hand, makes it easy for kids to choose healthy snacks.  Lean meats, fish, beans, nuts and eggs is another good sources of protein and whole-grain breads and cereals provides more fiber.  Try to limit fat intake by grilling, roasting, steaming and broiling.  Allow your kids to enjoy their favourite snacks like low-nutrient snacks and fast foods once-in-a-while otherwise they could feel deprived.  Encourage them to drink more water and low-fat milk.

Battling over food happens and well-intentioned parents might find themselves bribing or bargaining with their kids to eat the healthy food in front of them.  It is a good strategy to give kids some control, but also limit the kid to foods available at home.

Often kids enjoy deciding what to make for dinner, talk to them about planning and choices to make balanced meals.  Let them help shopping for the ingredients and teach kids to check out the food labels so that they can start to understanding what to look for.  It is a good idea to select age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen for your kids to avoid them from getting injured of feeling overwhelmed. And at the end of the meal, don’t forget to praise the chef.

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