Today, we have access to more information on health and nutrition than ever before. Yet, we’re sick and malnourished. Children are no exception. One in five American kids is obese. About 91 percent have a poor diet and get less than 30 minutes of exercise per day.
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure your child maintains a healthy weight. Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy task.
Need help teaching your child about exercise and good nutrition? Check out these simple ways to prevent childhood obesity:
1. Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
Good nutrition is the key to reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight. Teach your child about its importance. Encourage him/her to eat brightly colored fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains.
If your kid refuses to eat healthy, tweak his/her favorite recipes. For instance, you can “hide” spinach, kale, and other greens in meatballs, meatloaf, omelets, and smoothies. He/She won’t even be able to tell the difference!
2. Reduce Their Portions
Just like grownups, kids tend to eat a lot more than usual when watching TV or surfing the Web. Sure, you can’t keep an eye on your child 24/7, but you can limit his portions.
Fill the fridge with single-serving snacks. Use smaller plates when serving lunch or dinner. Pack his snacks for school rather than giving him money to buy food.
3. Clear Out Your Kitchen
Healthy eating starts at home. If your fridge and pantry are stuffed with sodas, cakes, and cookies, don’t expect your child to eat clean.
Remember the old saying “out of sight, out of mind.” Clear out your kitchen and refrigerator to encourage good nutrition in the household. Load up on leafy greens, fresh fruit, raw nuts, seeds, and homemade snacks.
4. Make Exercise a Family Activity
Regular exercise is just as important for your kids as it is for you. Get your children moving by making exercise a family activity. Play baseball together, plan active weekends, and go jogging or hiking over the weekend.
Be a role model for your child. Encourage him to try a variety of sports so he can find one that best suits his needs.
5. Limit Screen Time
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of two shouldn’t watch TV at all. If you have a toddler, limit his screen time. Nowadays, there are plenty of apps and online programs that make it easier to control children’s access to the Internet.
Watching TV, surfing the web, and other sedentary activities promote prolonged sitting. This increases your child’s risk of chronic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes. Teach your child to find joy in sports and outdoor activities rather than staying glued to the screen.