Raising Healthy Eaters

Dr. Yami is a board-certified pediatrician, certified lifestyle medicine physician, certified health and wellness coach, author and speaker. She is also a mother of two. Below she walks us through the Five Pillars of Healthy Eating.

The Five Pillars of Healthy Eating:

These pillars are your guide on how to navigate healthy eating in this modern world. It introduces healthy habits that are sustainable and fulfilling. Conveniently, you can begin incorporating these pillars into your lifestyle immediately.


The Goals of the Five Pillars:

  • Promote Health & Wellbeing: Your family deserves health and happiness. This includes having more energy, strong immune systems, and fully experiencing and enjoying life.
  • Foster Confidence: This means confidence in your food choices and yourself. Every single body is a good body.

1. Honor Hunger & Satiety:

Essentially, this means eating when hungry and stopping when satisfied. This is known as intuitive eating. Hunger is the body’s cue that it’s time to eat and should not be ignored. You should only stop eating when you feel sufficiently full and avoid overstuffing yourself.

To help children honor their hunger cues, don’t force the “clean plate club”. Trust your little one when they say they are full and allow them to eat when they are hungry.

If you encourage your babe to eat intuitively, they will be more willing to try different foods. It may be scary at first, but trusting your child’s intuition will help them make better choices when they are older.


2. Emphasize Whole Plant Foods:

Whole plant foods are unprocessed fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds in their original form. They are full of nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. When these ingredients are refined, their fiber gets removed and sugar, salt, preservatives, or dyes can be added. The more whole foods you can add to your child’s diet, the better!

Easy meal ideas include:

  • Oatmeal with fruit
  • Veggie wraps
  • Fruit salad
  • Bean chili
  • Avocado toast
  • Smoothies

3. Establish Positive Environment:

Your environment affects your success. As a parent, you can make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthy meals and snacks. Provide a variety of fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds in accessible spots. Try to keep less healthy foods out of reach and sight. Some ideas include apples, bananas, applesauce, unsweetened peanut butter, and unsalted nuts.

One of the most important things you can do for your little ones is to avoid dieting and encourage body positivity. Be cautious about the way you talk about your own body as well, especially in front of your children. Home should be a safe space where your tot is safe from body shaming and teasing. You should also monitor any media or popular culture they consume.


4. Be Flexible

Try to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, strive to eat as healthy as possible. 20% of the time, incorporate the foods that you save for special occasions.

Your diet should never feel like deprivation. There is a huge variety of healthy and delicious plant based foods. Explore different meals and find ones your family loves! If our healthy foods are bland and uninteresting, our children may not want to continue the lifestyle later on.

But food also doesn’t have to be complex to be yummy. Apples and peanut butter, and hummus and carrots are easy, nourishing, and scrumptious.

Don’t restrict your family during holidays and special occasions. There is no need to be a purist 24/7.


5. Relax and Have Fun

Eating healthy shouldn’t be stressful. Remember to have fun and laugh at your mistakes. As parents, we do the best we can.

If at first you don’t succeed, then try again. If your children hate the healthy meal you worked hard on, and won’t eat anything but their potatoes, relax and regroup! Don’t focus too much on individual meals, but on your overall habits.

Respect and cherish your body and model self confidence for your children. You will quickly see how the attitude of acceptance spreads to your whole family.

Easy Plant-Based Recipes:

About the Author

Dr. Yami Cazorla-Lancaster

Pediatrician & Health Coach

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