Weight loss for kids begins at home. Encourage your children to eat healthy by serving nutritious foods and beverages instead of cookies, sugary drinks and fast food. With the busy schedules of parents and kids, it’s harder than ever to eat healthy. Fast food restaurants are becoming the norm for eating dinner. Kids are especially at risk for obesity if they’re not active in sports or playing outside after school. Limit the use of video games and the Internet, and plan family days outside as much as possible.
Set Guidelines for School Age Kids
It’s not easy introducing healthier foods to older kids. Unless you made it a point when they were young to eat fruits and vegetables, the change is difficult. Once they reach school age, they’re more likely to sample sweets. Many prekindergarten and kindergarten kids are more exposed to desserts at school than at home. Parents often bring in cupcakes or brownies as a reward or special treat. Birthdays also bring surprises to share with classmates. It’s a good idea to set guidelines and boundaries for your child when they begin school. Talk with teachers and be clear on what your child is allowed to eat and not eat. Also encourage other moms to bring in healthier treats to share with the class. It may be hard in the beginning, but in the long run your child’s healthy weight is the reward.
Be Consistent at Home
Once you set school boundaries for your child, keep the same consistency at home. Offer fruits as an alternative to sugary desserts with meals. Children go for the dessert before they eat anything else. This leads to leftover healthier foods on the plate rather than leftover desserts. Instead of buying cookies and chips at the grocery store, fill the cart with unsalted pretzels or baked chips. Fruit snacks that come in small packages work well also. So does jello and pudding snacks. Expect the change to be rocky and it does not happen overnight. The good habits you instill in your kids at an early age continues as they get older. Even when you’re not around, they may say no to sweets on their own.
Taking away the remote and video games is going to lead to very angry youngsters, but it’s a big part of weight loss for kids. Make this fun and more acceptable to your children by planning activities as a family. Grab a ball and head outdoors for basketball, soccer or an easy game of catch. This benefits both the kids and parents by giving them opportunities to exercise and spend quality time together.
Encourage your kids to find a sport or after school activity that promotes getting up and moving. Most sports begin at an early age and keep kids focused on maintaining healthy habits. If you can’t afford the expenses of such activities, look into free options at community centers. There are swimming pools, indoors games and even exercise gyms at little or no cost in these centers.