In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that over one third of children were overweight or obese. These kids are at much higher risk for hypertension, bone and joint problems and high cholesterol. Children learn most of their eating and exercise habits from their parents from a young age, so the homes that promote nutritious meals and regular physical activity have the best chance at raising children to become healthy adults.
Here are four tips to help parents keep their kids healthy.
This is a tenuous area where children are not just influenced by family, but also by advertising, school lunch influences and snack machine availability. Often, schools have soda and snack machines readily available, and often include candy bars, cookies, pastries and other simple sugars that contribute to obesity. If your child’s vending machine doesn’t have healthy options, consider sending them to school with healthier alternatives like pretzels, trail mixes and other low sugar foods.
Eating at Restaurants
These days, eating out at restaurants, both fast food and sit-down establishments, are a fact of life. Many families have both parents working to meet ends meet, and a home cooked meal every day just isn’t plausible. When dining out, have children opt for some of the more nutrient rich foods on the menu. Instead of a burger and fries, opt for a grilled chicken salad. However, it is important that kids are not deprived of all foods they like. Locate restaurants and cafes that offer healthy menu options, but if kids clean their plate, permit them to have a small treat afterwards.
Plan Meals Ahead of Time
It does not take long to plan out the next day’s meal the night before. Whether it involves preparation that night or gathering all the foods together in a lunch pail, this goes a long way to keeping kids on track to eating healthy meals at school. Home meal planning that involves three square nutritious meals and two healthy snacks can help children develop healthy eating habits early in life.
Nutrition is a very crucial part of the children’s learning process to promote healthy habits as an adult. However, physical activity is just as important. This helps them build muscular and cardiovascular strength to keep their weight at normal levels. They do not need to engage in super strenuous activity that could possibly cause injury, but there are many family activities that keep kids interested in regular physical exercise, like bicycling, swimming or walking the family dog.