UCLA Campus    |   UCLA Health    |   School of Medicine Translate:
UCLA Health It Begins With U

Health Tips for Parents

Print
Email

Health Tips for Parents

 
2013 Issues

How can I help my child eat healthier?

By encouraging healthy eating habits at a young age, parents can impact their child’s lifelong relationship with food and help them grow into healthy adults.

08/01/2013
Download the article

Visit pediatrician to test for asthmaHealthy eating can impact a child’s energy, mood, mind and overall health. “There are several easy steps parents can take to encourage and instill good eating habits,” advises Wendy Slusser, MD, co-founder and medical director of the UCLA Fit for Healthy Weight program.

Offer a healthy, balanced diet

Healthy Eatingwith meals and snacks that are rich in nutrients and minerals. Half of your child’s plate should contain fruits and vegetables, one quarter should contain whole grains and the other quarter should be foods high in protein. By making plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks and healthy beverages easily accessible, parents can help their child avoid foods high in sugar, salt, high- fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and saturated/trans fats, and encourage a healthy diet both during meals and snack times.

Cook more meals at home, have regular meal times and get your kids involved.

By cooking at home, parents have control over food choices, portion size and when meals or snacks are served. When kids are involved in shopping for and cooking meals, parents can teach them the nutritional value of each food as well as have important family time.

Control portion size.

Exact portion sizes differ depending on age, gender, weight and height, but a rough estimate of portion size is a one-hand fist size for fruits, vegetables, pastas and beans and a palm-size for proteins.

Increase physical activity and limit TV/computer time.

Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. By reducing screen time, kids can avoid unnecessary empty calories from snacking and be more inclined to increase physical activity by going outside.

5-2-1-0 Blast-Off to Healthy Eating

  • 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables
  • 2 hours or less of recreational screen time
  • 1 year or more of breastfeeding; with exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life with introduction of appropriate infant food at 6 months old
  • Blast off and have fun with one hour or more of physical activity

Support a healthy lifestyle

Healthy Lifestyle“By introducing your child at an early age to a healthy lifestyle and a well-balanced diet rich in minerals and nutrients, parents can help their child prevent obesity, diabetes and iron-deficient anemia,” Dr. Slusser says. “The family home environment needs to support a healthy lifestyle for everyone.”





Add a comment


Please note that we are unable to respond to medical questions through the comments feature below. For information about health care, or if you need help in choosing a UCLA physician, please contact UCLA Physician Referral Service (PRS) at 1-800-UCLA-MD1 (1-800-825-2631) and ask to speak with a referral nurse. Thank you!


comments powered by Disqus