Dr. Sean Wharton Advises How to Help Your Kids Eat Healthier
We all know – or at least we all should know – that “we are what we eat”. “We are what we eat” is a common catchphrase that explains that eating nutritious food keeps us healthy, as well as feeling healthy.
Making sure that our own diet remains nutritious is one thing; making sure that our children eat healthy and grow up knowing the value of a nutritious diet is a completely different story.
Let’s face an unfortunate fact – the amount of processed junk food that’s on the market, especially food that is specifically driven to appeal to children, has never been greater.
Unfortunately for parents, easy access to junk food is not the only force working against their ability to positively influence their children’s eating habits.
In North America, there exist a number of organizations that track such things as dietary health and the alarming rise in obesity rates. In Canada, one of the larger organizations of this type is the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is a charity organization interested in promoting heart and stroke research and also happens to be the largest organization in this respect, after the Canadian government.
A 2009 survey conducted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation revealed something that some would find fairly surprising, if not alarming – namely, that how a parent thinks their child eats is often much different than how their child actually eats. It’s a matter of parental psychology. Parents have a natural instinct to not see the worst in their offspring, and therefore, to turn a blind eye to how poorly their children are in fact eating.
That makes it all the more imperative that parents take truly proactive steps in assuring that their children eat a healthy diet.
Dr. Sean Wharton runs the Wharton Medical Clinic in Canada, which takes an evidence-based, interdisciplinary approach to weight management. Dr. Wharton has also contributed to the Heart and Stroke Foundation in the past and presented his thoughts on the topic of dietary health in children in a past article published on the Foundation’s website.
In the article, Dr. Wharton stresses how important it is that children be instilled with proper eating habits at an early stage to prevent weight management issues later in life. Dr. Sean Wharton also stresses that parents should resist the easy temptation to cave in to the demands of their children for junk food.
Dr. Wharton presents three rules of thumb in the article that can help parents better guide their kids toward good dietary health, those rules of thumb being: one, parents should be aware and involved with how their children eat; two, parents need to focus on bringing home healthy food, which can still be an affordable option; three, despite how difficult it can be after a long day at work, parents need to stress that kids remain regularly active (as opposed to plunking down in front of the TV for hours at a time).
But, there are a number of other tips that parents can consider as they look for ways to successfully influence their child’s diet. As Dr. Sean Wharton describes, another way parents can have a positive, even fun, influence for their children is to cook with them.
“Inviting children into the kitchen and having them take part in the process of cooking a meal has many benefits,” comments Dr. Sean Wharton. “Not only is it a great bonding time between parent and child, it also allows children to gain a new respect of food and how a healthy meal is made.”
Dr. Wharton offers one other tip that can help parents make sure that children eat more balanced meals.
“As a parent, consider the value of regularly introducing your kids to new foods.”
As Dr. Wharton explains, the mindset of food being an exciting, and healthy, journey is something that can be instilled in a child. One way that a parent can better their chances of instilling this mindset in their child is by being a positive role model and by making a point of regularly, or at least periodically, introducing new foods into their child’s diet.