Childhood Obesity Bites! Get Kids to Eat Healthier

                                               I have always thought this! Plus there’s a lot more involved in the process of making a hamburger than a salad! For God’s sake an animal has to killed! I guess that’s supply and demand for ya at the expense of our children’s health.

Well this time my blog was inspired by my post on Facebook. One thing that breaks my heart is childhood obesity. Many times this epidemic could be easily avoided. Now, I’m not  a big stats and facts person, but I will state some plain and simple ones in this blog. It is pretty common knowledge that obesity for adults and children is at an all time high. The fact that crushes me most is that our generation’s life expectancy will outlive our children’s. Childhood obesity causes so many risks and complications. Physical complications include heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, breathing problems, apnea, and let’s not forget the emotional consequences like  low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder.  So this translates to problems in school, academically and socially and issues at home. More than likely, these issues will continue to be challenges as they become adults. This makes  basic things such as getting a good job, having good relationships with others, or just enjoying life  complicated! Do you really want to set your child up for this? When for the most part it could easily and quite simply  be avoided.

The majority of child obesity is behavioral, now of course there  can be complex genetic or biological factors. BUT,  less than 1% of all obesity is caused by physical problems. Another simple fact:  Obesity occurs when the amount  of calories going in is greater than the calories going out!  Not rocket science. More basic facts: “If a one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that their children will also be obese.  However, when both parents are obese, their children have an 80 percent chance of being obese.”  Ok, so when I hear “Oh, little Johnny is overweight because it runs in the family, I am quick to point out NO, probably the behavior runs in the family. So…  I feel, as a parent one of the best things you can do is teach your child healthy behaviors and guide them into living a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their lives. The best way you can do that is to set a good example and you will set them up for success! For the most part most kids by nature are active, so let’s start by getting them to eat healthier. Here are seven top tips for getting started on the right track with getting your kids to eat healthier!!

1. Be a good example. This is the most important, if you are turning your nose up at eating your Brussel sprouts and downing a couple Cokes a day, what kind of message do you think you’re sending. Get to know good nutrition. All I have to say here is MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO.

2.Get them involved! Kids love to be involved and  be helpers, so let them! Whether it’s helping with grocery shopping, creating  the menu or with preparation of food. This is a good time to teach them the values of good nutrition. I have one that likes to chop and one that likes to stir. It works out nicely 🙂

3.Don’t skip, stick to schedule. Kids need to eat like us every 3-4 hours. Even if you’re on the go, have something healthy handy to snack on like fruit or trail mix. This beats dealing with the crankies or (in my case) little slugs. lol! This also keeps you out of the fast food drive thru!

4. Start with a great breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day, it will make or break the day! Keep in mind, they have been fasting for the last 10-13 hours. After that long with no food it’s important to refuel! If they don’t eat in the morning they’ll be tired and unable to concentrate in school. It should be nutritionally balanced. Avoid the high sugar cereals!

5.Be in control.  You can’t expect your kids to make healthy choices when the cupboards and fridge is full of bad ones. Limit the bad choices you bring home or keeping them out of site is helpful.  I keep healthy selections easy to grab. We keep veggies chopped up in fridge and there is an endless supply of yogurt.

6. Dress it up or dip it! This is just like it sounds, make foods fun by being creative, use your imagination or better yet theirs! The web is full of cute ideas! As for my kids, everything’s better with ranch. Find a sauce or a dip your kids enjoy and they might be apt to try a new veggie or two. You can also disguise food nicely by being a creative parent 😉

7. A time and a place. Remember, anything in moderation is ok. While we want the majority of what our children eat  to  be healthy for their growing bodies, a special treat once a week or even once a day won’t do any damage. There will be birthday parties and sleep overs that you have no control over and that’s ok. If you deny these treats too much you will find candy wrappers behind your furniture, as I have in the past! In all seriousness, allowing this will help make eating a more enjoyable experience and will help your child build a good relationship with food.

Ah, and I can’t forget the one that inspired my topic Don’t buy into marketing for kid’s! It is a cause that feeds childhood obesity. Well that can be another blog. Now go enjoy healthy bites with your family! Sandy C.

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