When parents prepare their kids’ meals, good-for-you foods like veggies, whole grains and milk are usually on the menu. And while parents encourage healthy eating for their kids at mealtime, they don’t always eat the same foods themselves.
In fact, a recent report from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) suggests kids may actually have healthier eating habits than adults. Kids ages 2 to 3 scored highest for diet quality, while adults scored significantly lower, according to the latest Healthy Eating Index research.
Look to your kid’s plate for a reminder on how you can make better choices and get more of the nutrients you need. Here are three ideas to get you started:
1. Kids Eat Smaller Portions. One reason kids eat less is because they start with less. Consider making yourself a “kid’s plate” to manage portion sizes. Still hungry? Eat healthy snacks in sensible portions. Snacking may help stave off hunger and prevent overeating at your next meal. Look for a balanced snack with high-quality protein to help keep you fuller longer.
2. Kids Drink Milk. Milk accompanies kids’ meals. In fact, children 8 years and younger are the only ones meeting the recommended amount of milk and milk products. According to a study from the National Cancer Institute, eight out of 10 adults don’t meet the recommendations of three servings each day. Milk is the top food source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium for both kids and adults – three nutrients identified as nutrients of concern (that is, those most Americans aren’t getting enough of) by the DGAC’s report. So, missing out on milk likely means missing out on important nutrients your body needs, because research shows it is hard to get enough of these nutrients in your diet without the recommended amounts of milk each day.
Plus, many experts now recommend 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal. An 8-ounce glass of milk has 8 grams of high-quality protein, so pairing it with your breakfast is a great way to boost the protein power of your morning meal. Some creative ideas for more “adult ways” to work in milk servings include a Classic Latte, Green Smoothie or a bowl of Hearty Oatmeal made with milk in the morning. For these recipes and more, visit MilkLife.com.
3. Kids Eat When Hungry. Ever try to feed kids when they’re not hungry? You likely wound up with most of the food on the floor or still left on their plates. Kids tend to do a better job than adults of ending a meal when they are full. Learn to identify how it feels to be comfortable, not stuffed, after a meal.
So at your next meal, watch the choices your kids make – you might pick up some cues for how to eat (and drink) better yourself.