How Your Eating Habits Influence the Whole Family
As more mothers are hitting the work force, family eating habits have changed over time. Did you know that your eating habits during your child’s growing years directly influence the habits they develop on their road to adulthood? A parent’s emphasis on healthy eating can lead to a reduced likelihood to raise obese children. And the effects of these habits carry on to future generations.
When Do Children Pick Up Parents’ Eating Habits?
It has been reported that a child’s taste buds are developed as early as in the womb. A developing baby will swallow amniotic fluid which picks up the flavors of the foods consumed by the mother during pregnancy. After a child is born, the decision to breast feed or formula feed also adds to the development of a child’s taste buds. Eating behaviors are developed during the first years of life, and these habits are what last into our adulthood.
But, perhaps, more influential on our children than the foods they taste in the beginning years, is the habits we teach them in regards to food. As food becomes more rapidly available, children and families are seen consuming more inexpensive, energy packed, large portions of food that leads to obesity. Additionally, employment patterns in parents’ careers and family structures make for less time for food preparation in the household. Foods packed with ingredients that give us energy are usually focused on fat.
What Other Factors Weight In?
The other factors that weigh into how your child will learn to eat are genes, environment, and culture. Children who come from an environment that focuses too much on weight can be exposed to overeating when they are presented with restrictive feeding patterns. Culture is a heavy weighing factor when assessing the effect of food habits on our children. While some cultures focus on eating as a way of drawing families and friends together, other cultures look at eating as a chore, and even some as a reward.
How to Give Your Children a Positive Example for Eating Behaviors.
Giving your children a positive example for food consumption and eating behaviors can lead them to better overall health. Since parents eating behaviors greatly influence their children, setting an example that leads to healthy eating habits is an important goal of parenting. In addition, parents’ fitness behaviors influence their children as well. Find time in your busy schedule to make family food time a joint, sit down effort. Studies show that this can lead to more fruit and vegetable focused meals. And, finding a balanced meal leads to improved academic achievement and self-esteem. As children are encouraged to follow healthy eating behaviors, they tend to develop a lifelong interest in cooking that leads to following a balanced diet.
Making healthy eating a family affair is a great way to encourage lifelong habits that increase the physical health of your entire family. Help your children avoid weight gain throughout their life by encouraging homemade, shared family meals that focus on great nutrition.