Preventing Childhood Obesity
Everyone wants their kids to be happy and form healthy eating habits. Now before I go on and give my tips, I’ll add a disclaimer: I do not have children! However, I used to be overweight as a child/teenager and would avoid all healthy food whenever possible, believe it or not. I’ll be sharing my tips based on what would’ve worked to get me to eat healthier back then. I’ve been passionate about health and fitness since I was 16 but before that, I ate junk food pretty much all day. I know what it’s like to be an overweight child who thinks she doesn’t like eating healthy. There are many misconceptions and false information about healthy foods as well.
Ways To Create Healthy Eating Habits For Your Kids
1. Don’t Tell Kids What to Eat!
It sounds odd but really, kids can be rebellious. Grown ups are always telling them what to do and what to eat. The better way to do it is to be a good example and tell them what benefits they might get from eating a certain food. Example: “You could have a chocolate bar, but it won’t make you feel good. You’ll feel tired and won’t have the energy to play with your friends.” “Fruit gives us nutrients and fuel and is sweet and delicious!” Give them options and let them make the right decisions and learn from it. All you can do is educate them (and yourself) about food and be a good example.
2. Stock The House With Healthy Whole Foods
[pullquote]If your home is filled with junk food and candy, then you and your family will be more likely to eat it. [/pullquote]When you have a house filled with living, whole plant foods, grains as well as healthier treats, then that’s what will be eaten! If your home is filled with junk food and candy, then you and your family will be more likely to eat it. Don’t hide junk food for yourself or eat unhealthy if you want your family and kids to eat well. It just doesn’t make sense. Be the change! If you eat healthy and are interested in being fit and healthy, they’ll eventually follow it yourself too.
3. Remember: Fruit IS a Meal
I would’ve loved to eat fruit as a meal when I was little. I was taught fruit is a treat but in reality-our bodies crave sweet foods because they need them! This is something I’ve just learned about not too long ago. I thought you would miss out on essential nutrients but really when you eat fruit meals, add in some raw veggies, it’s the perfect food and fuel! They have the carbohydrates and glucose we need for our bodies and brains to function properly, and the extra dose of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. They also keep you hydrated and simply taste great!
Most kids love at least ONE kind of fruit. Good news-there are thousands of varieties of each kind of fruit alone. Bananas, berries, oranges, etc. by themselves are a meal. As long as you are eating enough calories from your fruit meals, it’ll be the healthiest food you can eat. Can’t get more natural than that!
There are many ways to make fruit even more fun for kids. Banana ice-cream made from a blend of frozen ripe bananas, a bit of water or almond milk and toppings of your choice, is always a favourite for everyone (adults too!). A variety of fruit bowls, cut in interesting shapes using cookie cutters, will make it even more interesting. As a bonus-fruit is super convenient and easy snack or meal to take with you on the go. No preparation needed!
4. Make Veggies Taste Better!
[pullquote]Make a delicious hummus or cheesy vegan nutritional yeast dip and use them with your favorite foods.[/pullquote]It’s possible! Hey, most adults don’t like eating their greens either but a way you can get them in is adding them to smoothies. Add handfuls of spinach, kale, lettuce, etc. to smoothies. Disguise with some frozen blueberries and you won’t be able to tell they’re there! Some kids might even like the fun/weird green coloured smoothies!
Another way is to use them as dipping sticks. Make a delicious hummus or cheesy vegan nutritional yeast dip and use them with your favorite foods. All you’ll taste is the delicious dip. Same goes for salads, make a salad with balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, dates, apples, fruit or dried fruit to make it more flavourful and fun.
5. Let them Help With Your Meals
It’s more exciting for your kids if they help make and cook dinner too. Let them help and pick ingredients they want to eat with their meals. Eating together as a family doesn’t necessarily mean you eat the exact same meals either. Everyone’s different. But if that’s too complicated in your family, then just ask what each person wants and compromise.
Good for you, you care about your family and your kids health enough that you want to do something about it. Be a good example, eat healthy yourself, add in some physical activity that you love doing here and there and be a positive influence on your kids and others!