How to Protect Your Child from the Obesity Epidemic?
Our eating habits have changed significantly over the last few decades, which now affects our children, as well. According to the research conducted by the World Health Organization, about 33% of boys and 20% of girls aged 6-9 are obese. One of the main reasons for this outburst of obesity epidemic at such a young age are bad eating habits and the lack of exercise.
Since those unhealthy habits are established even before the age of six, it’s crucial to start with some anti-obesity measures while your child is still a toddler. The purpose of this article is to teach parents how to work with their children to keep them fit and healthy.
1. Stick to a Regular Meal Schedule
Children need a clearly defined structure in everything they do. Therefore, if you want to introduce balanced diet for your kids, make sure that they have at least three regular meals and two snacks between those main meals.
If you manage to introduce a fixed meal plan for your kids, they’ll learn from day one how important regular meals are. As a result, they’ll neither starve nor overeat during one day, which is extremely important in maintaining blood sugar on a normal level. In turn, this reduces the risk of obesity and keeps children safer from diabetes.
What can also help you establish a regular meal schedule is to eat at least one meal a day with your kids. Since many families get together only in the evening, dinner is the best period for it.This habit will yield a two-fold benefit: you’ll spend more time with your kids and you’ll teach them how to develop some healthy eating habits.
2. What Foods should Children Eat?
At the age of three, boys need about 1,230 calories per day, and 1,165 calories will suffice to the energetic needs of girls of the same age.
As kids keep growing, these number will change, as you can check out here.
It’s crucial that kids eat various foods, from wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, to cheese, meat and healthy dairy products. From these meals they’ll get carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, as well as fiber and protein, respectively.
Here’s one suggestion for three meals and two snacks for your kids in one day:
- Breakfast - Wholegrain cereal, like oats and barley, as well as wholegrain bread, with low-fat yoghurt and cheese and a glass of milk
- Snack - Fruit (berries or apple) and water
- Lunch - Chicken soup, green vegetables and meat or fish, as well as fresh orange juice
- Snack - Fruit (banana or pear) and water
- Dinner - Whole wheat pasta or brown rice and fish, as well as tofu cheese.
This is only one variation for a healthy and balanced daily meal plan for children. You can get more ideas on the UK NHS website.
Whatever plan you come up with, make sure that everybody who stays with kids holds on to it. If you don’t have time to cook at home, choose a multi-tasking governess, who can both cook and take care of your kids, and work with that person on the meal plan.
Similarly, if kids are babysat by grandparents, they should also get familiar with your meal plan and don’t make any exceptions.
Also, get ready to fine tune your diplomatic skills when you’re preparing this plan. In order to make it more effective, include both your partner and your children into this preparatory stage. You should both talk to your children and let them put together some of the meals. That way, they’ll be more curious try them once they’re prepared.
3. Do Physical Activities with Your Kids
Inactive and sedentary parents are highly likely to raise the children of the same kind.
Because of that, even if you’ve never been a sportsperson yourself, it’s time to get off that couch and be a positive role model to your children.
First and foremost, regular workout doesn’t mean that you need to become a weightlifter to set an example to your kid. You should do whatever suits your current physical and mental condition.
For example, going for walks with your kid and just spending time outside with them is already a great thing to do. Children always find something interesting to do when they’re outside. While you can bring along their toys, such as balls, bikes or scooters, it’s enough for them just to run, jump, turn around themselves and play at children playgrounds.
Physical activity will not only keep them fit and healthy, but it can improve their intellectual performances, as well.
If possible, you can install a trampoline or any other similar workout equipment in your yard. That way, your kids will be able to play whenever they want.
Furthermore, you should organize trips to nature at least once a week. That way, you’ll spend some quality time together as a family, plus your children will have an additional chance to be physically active. Apart from doing some physical exercises, they’ll also breathe some fresh air, which is extremely important to keep your child fit.
4. Play it Smartly with Sweets
Sweets are extremely popular with kids and most of them will always rather choose a chocolate bar than a fruit or vegetable. While it’s important to reduce the intake of sweets, it’s counterproductive to completely ban your kids from eating sweets.
Therefore, you need to play it smartly if you want your kid to eat cakes and candies only occasionally.Since they learn most habits at home, make an effort to make healthy cakes at home. Preparing cookies with nuts, honey and dried fruit is a great way to avoid using raw sugar, while still providing your kids with some tasty sweets. If you organize your time properly, you can pack those home-made sweets for your kids’ school meals, as well. It’s a win-win situation: your kids will eat sweets that are healthier than the mass-produced ones and they’ll save the pocket money they’d otherwise spend on unhealthy sweets.
Here you can check out some great dessert recipes that will keep you and your kids on the healthy tracks.
Obesity is something that most of us develop due to unhealthy eating habits. Naturally, children acquire their parents’ eating habits. So, it’s us, grown-ups, who can set the right or wrong path for our kids and their life in the future. Therefore, try to go an extra mile to prepare food at home whenever you can and include your kids in the process of meal planning. Also, play with them and go outside as much as you can. Kids who eat varied food and have regular physical activity are more likely to become healthy and self-confident adults. We hope that these tips will help you raise such a kid.
Anne Harris is an HR specialist working for londongoverness.com. She recruits nannies, governesses and other childcare professionals, ensuring top-notch services for parents worldwide. In her free time she likes reading about education, and children's welfare, as well as visiting sports events.