Nutritious foods, shared family dinners good for health

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As you gear up for the coming school year and schedule in extra-curricular activities, homework time, and play dates, don’t forget about the importance of quality family time. Research shows that eating meals together improves health outcomes. Kids in families who regularly eat dinner together also have lower rates of risky teenage behaviours like smoking, binge drinking, violence, school problems, and eating disorders, according to Anne Fishel, Harvard medical school professor.

What your kids eat is also significant, as children who eat a variety of healthy foods enjoy better health, are more successful at school, and are more likely to maintain healthy body weights throughout their lives, according to a report by the Dieticians of Canada.

The best way to encourage children to eat well is to lead by example. A healthy diet at home with emphasis on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lower-fat proteins, and unprocessed foods will steer children in the right direction.

Snacks play an important role. That’s why it’s a good idea to fill the fridge with nutritious options, such as cubes of cheese, pre-cut fruit, and whole grain crackers stored in reusable containers. Doing the same with vegetables and hummus makes it easy for kids to avoid fatty and calorie-laden treats.

While maintaining healthy eating may be a challenge, new appliance features make it easier than ever. Well-designed fridges, such as Whirlpool’s double drawer French door refrigerator— have a variety of storage zones. This fridge features a drawer with five temperature settings, including one for thawing frozen foods, making it easy to take something out of the freezer that will be ready to cook when parents get home. The same space can also function as a zone to keep food separate for those family members with allergies or sensitivities. An external drawer has a special produce-preserver system, making it ideal for storing fruits and vegetables.

Ensuring that a variety of healthy foods are readily accessible to children is an important way to teach them that we truly are what we eat. – NewsCanada

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