Rabu, 04 April 2012

Bringing Up Healthy Kids

Obesity rates in children are on the rise and have been rising dramatically over the last decade (up to double). Below are some tips that can help parents in the battle against obesity.

· Set a good example-children's eating habits are linked closely to what their parents eat. So if you eat poor food chooses in front of them, why should they eat something healthy you make for them? Eat right yourself and not only will your health benefit from it, but the health of you children will benefit as well. And you are setting up a good habit for life.

· Drink more water- fruits juices, carbonated drinks and other drinks aimed at children are high in sugar. Water should be the main drink of your family, and you should always carry a bottle with you when you go out.

· Rewards- food can be used for a reward, but healthy food and not sweets, crisps or cakes. If you can't reward your children with a healthy snack, then look at other ways to reward them for being good. I.e. A trip to the park or beach. You don't need to reward them with something that costs money.

· Limit the amount of junk food- this one should go without saying, but all too often parents take their children to fast food restaurants as an easy alternative to cooking at home. Nothing beats a good home cooked meal and it's a great way to get children involved in food as well. Junk food really is just that 'junk'. Limit this to only a few times a year.

· Smart snacking- many snacks aimed at children are loaded with sugar, fat and salt, and are not suitable snacks (clever marketing). This is a big reason as to why some children are gaining weight.

· Meal sizes- young kids need to eat small meals with healthy snacks in between. Keep meals at regular times and snack smart.

· Avoid over feeding- children's appetites do change, so allow them to determine how much they need to eat, and don't over feed them or try to force feed them. Otherwise they can lose their ability to know just how much food in actually enough.

· Turn the television off- too much TV makes kids fat. Research has shown this time and again. Limit the time in front of the TV.

· Breakfast- studies have shown that those who miss breakfast are more likely ahead, but it must be something healthy. So check out the ingredients and calorie content of some of the cereals aimed at children (high sugar content).

· Encourage activity- switch off the TV and get moving. Kids love to be active and should be encouraged every day. Play ball, walk the dog with them, go cycling together, play in the park, anything that will help get your kids moving.

· School food- if your child eats meals at school, find out what they have and what healthy meals they provide. If the options at school are not healthy, then limit the amount of meals they eat there, and provide them with healthy options instead.

· Weight gain- weight gain does not happen overnight, it takes time. So, if your child is overweight it will take time to lose the weight. Encourage activity and healthy eating, after all they are still growing and a growth spurt can happen at any time.

· Don't ban foods- avoid banning any foods altogether. Just use them very sparingly.

· Avoid fatty comments- do not label your kids as 'fat' or 'overweight'. This will not do them any good and they might start labelling themselves as 'fat' or 'no good'. Use positive encouragement for everything they do.

· Food for thought- children, like adults will use foods when they are unhappy, stressed or teased. You may need to dig a little deeper, but you need to understand why and when you kids eat.

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