Childhood obesity affects over 18% of children in the US but has more than doubled since 1980. As a result, making it is the most common illness affecting our children today. We will be presenting to our child nutrition series over the next 4 weeks. We will provide you with evidence-based research on child nutrition and healthy eating to help you improve your family’s health. Please subscribe so that you will have access to all the amazing content.
“Clean Your Plate” Is Not Always The Way To Go For Healthy Kids
creating healthy kids
According to research, the United States obesity rate has more than doubled for preschoolers and adolescents-and more than tripled for ages 6 to 11-over the past 30 years. Obese children are at greater risk for health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, and often carry these problems into adulthood. Like most parents, you want your children to be healthy. However, not everything your parents did is necessarily what experts consider to be most healthful now. So, how do parents help children, and the entire family, eat healthier, both at home and away-from-home?
A Registered Dietitian can determine the healthiest weight goals for your children and the entire family. As dietitians, we provide you and your family with a personalized lifestyle and nutrition assessment with goal setting tailored to your individual nutrition needs. Not only is childhood obesity an important health crisis in America, but healthy nutrition for the entire family should be a priority. Our children learn from the examples we set. Check out the following easy tips that you can incorporate in your life to promote healthy nutrition and fight childhood obesity.
Nutrition Tips to Help Reverse Childhood Obesity
- Eat at least one meal together daily as a family. Eating together as a family has been proven to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
- Prepare healthy dishes for the whole family, not just special foods for an overweight child. Preparing healthy dishes for the entire family to enjoy encourages our children to eat what we eat. They won’t feel left out or ostracized.
- Don’t use food as a reward, comfort, or punishment. Let’s not develop negative relationships with food.
- Watch portions. “Clean your plate” is not always the way to go. Our parents made us clean our plate, but that shouldn’t be the norm. We should encourage ourselves to listen to the body’s cues on fulfillment. Our bodies have the amazing ability to tell us when we have had enough.
- Eat slowly. It takes almost 20 minutes for the brain to register that the body is full.
- Start with beverages first! Encourage water or skim or 1% milk instead of high-calorie, sugary drinks. Avoid artificially sugared beverages. You can add lemon, cucumber or watermelon to chilled water to give it taste.
- Stick with lower calorie fulfilling snacks. Instead of candy, try sliced apples with peanut butter. Instead of chips, offer crisp baked veggie chips.
- Use low-fat or fat-free dressings, mayonnaise and dairy items at home as if they are the full-fat versions. Kids will take your cues. Ask for the same items on the side when eating away-from-home.
- Take the stairs. When you go shopping, park the car farther away from the store and walk.
- Limit television, video games or computer time.
- Stick with items that are baked, broiled, steamed, or poached-not fried.
- Look beyond the children’s menu, often limited to fried, high-calorie, high-fat foods. Split one healthier adult entrée between two children.
- Ask for a takeout container and put some of the food in before you eat.
- Pass on the bread, beverages and tortilla chips or ask that they be served with the meal, not beforehand.
- Lastly, but most important, let get our children involved in grocery shopping making meals at home for the whole family to enjoy.
Parents can help children reach wellness goals by first making healthy changes at home, then teaching kids what to do away from home. Healthy eating does not happen overnight, but children take cues from their parents and will learn behaviors over time.
Kid Friendly REcipe: Fruit Kebob
Check out this fun snack recipe and get the whole family involved!
Makes 20 sample-size portions.
- Double-pointed wooden kebob sticks
- Small plates
- Large bowl
- Can opener
- Plastic knives
- Cutting boards
- 1 – 15 oz can of pineapple chunks (in natural juices) or use fresh pineapple
- 2 pints of strawberries
- 1 bunch of seedless grapes
- 3 oranges or tangerines
- 2 bananas
- Explain the task.
- Have children wash and dry the fruit. Can any stems and leaves. Peel and cut the bananas into slices.
- Place each fruit in a different bowl.
- Give children a wooden kebob stem and help them attach each piece of fruit.
- Take a picture of their amazing work!
Now you have kebobs for the entire family!
*Note: Grapes can be a choking hazard for children aged 4 and younger. Consider cutting grapes in half.
Need help getting your child on track with healthy nutrition? Or even your whole family? Make an appointment today so that we can help you achieve your nutrition goals.