Mediterranean Diet for a Healthy Heart
Children may learn healthy eating habits by following in their parents’ footsteps. If a parent eats a Mediterranean diet, a child growing up with this type of eating plan will not need to adjust to giving up high-fat foods, such as french fries, hamburgers and other fast food items. Outside influences, such as advertising and friends, may affect a child’s willingness to follow a low-fat diet. However, if your child has a solid foundation of healthful eating, she is more likely to make good food choices despite the availability of unhealthy foods.
Following the Mediterranean diet from childhood may help reduce your child’s risk for serious health problems. In a study published in the September 2008 issue of the “British Medical Journal,” researchers determined that following the Mediterranean diet improves mortality rate and reduces the incidences conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
In addition to preventing disease, healthful eating on the Mediterranean diet could help your child avoid obesity. In the U.S., the number of obese children has tripled since the 1980s, reports the Centers for Disease Control. Obese children have an increased risk for health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
To keep your child interested in eating healthy foods, allow him to help plan or cook a meal. Let him choose from a variety of foods and experiment with seasonings. Also consider sitting down at the table to eat together. If your child sees his parents and siblings eating nutritious food, he may continue to follow this example. You may also want to allow some flexibility, giving in to an occasional treat, such as ice cream or candy. This will help him view these foods as something to have once in awhile, but not every day.
Making healthful choices early on will help your child work towards a lifetime of good eating habits. Many children who grow up eating an unhealthy diet have a difficult time giving up “comfort foods” as an adult, a common catch-phrase for craving our favorite childhood meals. Starting your child off right away with the healthful foods of the Mediterranean diet will help her avoid the need to “diet” or otherwise alter the poor eating habits she learned as a child.
Source – Livestrong