Each month, you'll be able to get answers directly from experts covering a wide range of parenting topics. You'll also have a chance to share your own expert tips with other parents. Join the conversation!
Jennifer Klepper is an ex-corporate attorney turned PTO president, volunteer child advocate and Cwist contributor. She is leading a discussion on inspriring curiosity and independence in girls with nature. Read and Comment »
Connie Evers is a registered dietitian, consultant and author who specializes in the health of children and adolescents. Read more »
As parents, we know that good nutrition is essential for our children's growth and development. We read all the latest nutrition news, have dozens of healthful cookbooks on our shelf and can readily list all five food groups. Unfortunately, though, there is a disconnect between nutrition knowledge and the actual eating behavior of many of today's families and children.
Too busy for meal planning or perhaps even meals at all, as a nation we rely on drive-through dining and convenient options which contribute plenty of fat, sugar and calories but little in the way of fiber and nutrients.
As a working mom with three children, I fully understand the pressures facing today's busy families. Sometimes it seems like nothing short of a miraculous feat to get everyone around the table eating the same meal at the same time. Family meals are well worth the planning and effort, though. Eating together on a routine basis contributes to good nutrition, improved communication and stronger family bonds. Research shows that children who eat frequent family meals have better health, perform better academically and even engage in fewer high-risk behaviors as teens.
In addition to committing to shared family meals, here are a few additional "food rules" that promote the development of healthy eating habits in children:
The odds are good that your child will learn to love a variety of nutritious foods if you continue to emphasize fun over force. Most important of all, show your child how much you enjoy eating healthful foods. Children learn more by watching what we do rather than what we say!
The information contained in this Expert Q&A is not intended as a substitute for medical and/or nutrition advice. See your physician and/or registered dietitian for individual health and/or dietary concerns.
Connie Evers is no longer taking questions. But please share your own experiences and ideas by leaving a comment.