How Do We Get Kids On the Right Track to Healthier Eating?
It all begins at the beginning. If we approach childhood obesity as we would with any other disease, we can counteract its affects on our children. From the day children are born, it is up to parents to engage in a proper dietary regimen. Instead of soft drinks, give your child water or skim milk.
The idea is not to limit their food intake, but to prepare healthier foods which your child can eat often.
Moreover, if your child is overweight, try not to make it a point of discussion as it will only lower his or her self-esteem, and the child will eventually use food as a crutch. A child with a high sense of esteem will more likely than not be more open to a dietary regimen than children who see themselves as fat and ugly.
Healthy food can be prepared without sacrificing any of the nutrients a child needs in his or her daily diet.
If your child’s doctor determines a diet is in order, then it is appropriate that the entire family become involved. There are so many wonderful ways in which you can prepare a healthy meal for your family; one that is rich in fiber and low in fat.
There is no need to prepare a separate meal for the child; this will only advance the notion there is something wrong. The entire family can eat healthy meals together and this includes snacks as well. Having healthy snacks on hand can be enjoyed by all, without making it seem as if the focus is “the diet.”
Have an abundance of fruits and vegetables in your home; along with chicken, fish and lean meats. Instead of a hamburger, prepare a turkey burger. It is just as nutritious and delicious as the beef. Try to steer clear of packaged foods such as Mac and cheese. This is very high in sodium and you can easily make it using low fat cheese instead.
Prepare salads with chicken; yogurt as a snack; Portobello mushrooms in place of beef; beans and escarole; soups low in sodium; English muffin pizzas, and healthy cereals filled with high fiber instead of sugar. There are plenty of nutritionists on Food TV who prepare healthy meals for the entire family as well.
When out and about shopping with the children, avoid fast food restaurants. Bring fruit or other snack foods which the children can nibble on. If they have been the recipient of a proper diet from day one, they will continue to eat healthy foods and shy away from fatty foods from fast foods places. If your child has lost weight; praise him or her.
And it’s okay to eat desserts, as long as it’s in moderation. Make an angel food cake, which is very low in fat, and the whole family can enjoy. Or perhaps prepare gelatin desserts which are not only healthy but fun to eat. There are a number of ways the entire family can engage in helping a child diet, and at the same time lend emotional support to the overweight child.
A woman commented, “Whenever my sister was mad at me, she would always call me fat. Even my father called me fat one time. It hurt so much. My mother always told me I looked beautiful, even though I knew I wasn’t. I wasn’t considered obese then, but my large frame made it difficult for me to wear smaller sizes. I was a size 16 in my teens, and this made it more difficult to buy clothes in my size. It just didn’t seem fair, because my sister was skinny. I did the best I could, but inside I felt awful all the time.”