With the opening of the schools, the process of re-acquiring healthy living habits such as sleep and nutrition, which we have been going beyond the rules for a while, began. Reminding that these habits have important effects on children's healthy living and school success, Exp. Dietitian and Exp. Clinical Psychologist Merve Öz said that while trying to protect the psychology of our children, their eating habits deteriorate. “During the restrictions, children weren't able to move much because they couldn't go to school. Moreover, since they could not leave the house, many of the children turned to eating out of boredom,” said Expert RD and Exp. Clinical Psychologist Merve Öz, pointing out that the consumption of junk food and fast food increased during this period and made recommendations for parents to help children gain healthy eating habits.
Reminding that children have very well developed observation and imitation abilities, Specialist RD from Yeditepe University Koşuyolu Hospital and Exp. Clinical Psychologist Merve Öz said that for this reason, parents should pay attention to their individual behaviors. Saying, “As long as your words and behaviors are consistent, your children will develop the habits you want”, RD Merve Öz pointed out that parents should develop healthy eating habits in order to set an example for children who imitate their parents and take role models.
Emphasizing that there are two benefits of starting the day with breakfast, Exp. RD. Merve Öz continued her words as follows: “Egg is the highest quality protein after breast milk. Although milk and cheese are high in protein, they are sources of calcium. Olive protects the immune system and keeps it full. It is also a source of fiber. A breakfast with eggs, cheese and olives is very beneficial for health. The second benefit of a well-made breakfast is that it will provide satiety, keeping blood sugar in balance and reducing the desire to turn to unhealthy foods. Studies have shown that when the day starts with eggs, the calories taken during the day are less than the day without eggs.
Reminding that one of the most common problems parents face is that some foods are not consumed by children on the grounds that they are not liked by them, RD Merve Öz said that in this case, unloved foods should be tried in different forms until children start to like them. Exp. RD Merve Öz gave the following examples: “A child who does not like eggs or does not like the smell of eggs can be made to try them in the form of an omelet or menemen so that they can like them. It will be easier for a child who eats an omelet to eat a hard-boiled egg. For children who do not like kefir, kefir with fruit prepared at home can be tried at first. By adding fruit puree to plain kefir, the child can drink kefir. It will also be beneficial for you to help the children yourself while preparing the products.”
Drawing attention to the importance of consuming 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily for a person to maintain his health, Exp. RD Merve Öz reminded that children are especially prejudiced against vegetables, and that as age increases, prejudices and therefore resistance to trying vegetables increase. Explaining that it is necessary to act early to prevent this, RD Merve Öz spoke about her suggestions as follows:
“You can buy coloring or story books to introduce vegetables and fruits at a young age. Next to the foods they love to consume; you can add vegetables to soups, omelets, sandwiches. You can prepare foods such as veggie pizza or hash browns. Cooking the vegetables in the oven and providing them with a crunchy consistency can also increase children's interest in vegetables, you can cook the vegetables in the oven to ensure their consumption.”
Stating that the behavior of choosing food in children increases with age, Uzm. dit. Merve Öz suggested that they apply the 3 tablespoon rule in this regard and explained: “Families prepare more special and more carbohydrate meals for children who choose food. Because unlike broccoli, leek and celery, rice, pasta and potatoes are loved by all children. Especially for children who do not eat vegetables, if they eat 2-3 spoons of home-cooked vegetables, the rule of eating the food they like and also cooked at home can be made.”
Underlining that the risk of emotional eating problems in children increases as a result of presenting food as rewards and punishments, Exp. RD Merve Öz continued her words as follows: “Emotional eating; It is the person's reaction to events by eating rather than hunger. It is the person's eating because he is sad, stressed, that is, to reveal a positive emotion. Eating is a physiological need. It should not be considered as punishment and reward.”
Reminding that the meal eaten with the family helps to reinforce the feelings of trust and peace by increasing communication, Specialist from Yeditepe University Hospital. Exp. RD. and Exp. Clinical Psychologist Merve Öz said, “Research shows that children who eat with their families make healthier food choices. In addition, studies show that better school success and the risk of developing harmful habits (smoking, alcohol, substance use) are lower”. Stating that children's contribution to shopping and food will also help to develop their sense of responsibility, Exp. RD. Öz warned that preparing the meal with the children will also increase their motivation to eat the prepared food.
Underlining that it is necessary not to keep these products at home as much as possible in order to keep children away from harmful habits, Exp. RD. Merve Öz said, “When you want snacks; It is much easier to open the cabinet and eat than to go to the market and buy it. For this reason, children should not have harmful foods at their disposal and their will should not be forced.”
Stating that parents should encourage their children to daily physical activity, Exp. RD. from Yeditepe University Hospital and Exp. Clinical Psychologist Merve Öz says, “Organizing walks and activities with them, limiting the time allocated to activities such as television and computers will prevent children from being sedentary. It is also important to direct them to sports as much as possible in terms of both a healthy life and weight control.”
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