Healthy eating habits for kids to avoid childhood obesity
The rise of childhood obesity has definitely placed the health of entire generation at risk”
As we all know that obesity has become an epidemic in the world. A question that comes into my mind is can babies be obese? Research supports that the seeds of childhood obesity are planted earlier but the good news is that parents can really do something to prevent this.
Irony is that, because of the mindset, parents jump in joy celebrating the birth of their chubby babies. They incorrectly relate the chubbiness to being healthy. This thought process needs to change as overweight newborns are at a greater risk of developing obesity related issues. Also overweight babies have shown to have delayed milestones.
First you try to give these to them;
- Low-fat or nonfat dairy products
- Poultry without
- Lean cuts of meats
- Whole grain breads and cereals
- such as fruit and veggies
Pay attention to portion control from a very young age.
We are encouraged to eat until we are ‘stuffed’. Everything is ‘supersized’ these days.
Allow kids to stop eating when they want, even if they have had only a few bites. Do not make an issue of ‘finishing your plate’.
Avoid ‘mindless’ eating in front of the TV. Serve a reasonable amount and stop when it is gone. Do not combine eating with play or other activities except at special occasions such as birthday parties. Make eating time a conscious activity.
Allow kids to help with food preparation as reasonably possible. Becoming aware of how food gets to the table creates a wider interest in a variety of foods. Stress simple preparation of two or three ingredient dishes so that each food still looks like what it actually is when it is ready to eat.
Beware of artificially flavored foods and drinks. Syrups and additives give an unrealistic expectation of real flavors. Strawberry Pop Tarts do not taste like real strawberries. The taste they learn first is the one they will stick to and demand.
Be aware of how much the aroma of foods plays in the learning process of food enjoyment. Fill your home with wonderful cooking aromas on a regular basis. Nothing stimulates the appetite of a picky eater more.
- Have regular family meals. Knowing dinner is served at approximately the same time every night and that the entire family will be sitting down together is comforting and enhances appetite. Breakfast is another great time for a family meal, especially since kids who eat breakfast tend to do better in school.
- Cook more meals at home. Eating home cooked meals is healthier for the whole family and sets a great example for kids about the importance of food. Restaurant meals tend to have more fat, sugar, and salt. Save dining out for special occasions.
- Get kids involved. Children enjoy helping adults to shop for groceries, selecting what goes in their lunch box, and preparing dinner. It’s also a chance for you to teach them about the nutritional values of different foods, and (for older children) how to read food labels.
- Make a variety of healthy snacks available instead of empty calorie snacks. Keep plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice) around and easily accessible so kids become used to reaching for healthy snacks instead of empty calorie snacks like soda, chips, or cookies.
- Limit portion sizes. Don’t insist your child cleans the plate, and never use food as a reward or bribe.