How to Raise Healthy Children

Turning a blind eye about the health of your larger-than-average child will not cover the reality that your kid has a serious problem. Studies show that an obese child will more likely grow into an obese adult. No drug treatment or weight-loss diet has been proven to magically reduce your child’s weight, but what is attested is that parents should help their children eat healthy for them to maintain their weight and eventually "grow into it." Let us help you start in giving you child new and healthy lifestyle.

Encourage your child to eat healthy – It is much easier to change a child’s eating and exercise habits than it is to alter an adult’s. Parents concerned about their child’s weight should encourage a wide range of fresh and nutritious foods in his or her diet.

Start the day with a healthy breakfast – A balanced breakfast consisting of a low-sugar cereal (such as whole wheat) with milk, plus a piece of fruit is a good start to the day.

Serve more complex carbohydrates – Starchy food rich in complex carbohydrates (like bread, potatoes, pasta, and rice) makes them filling and nourishing. These should provide half the energy in a child’s diet.

Provide healthier alternatives – Your child will have the same satisfaction with eating foods that are either natural or low-caloric. Instead of high-fat snacks like chocolate, biscuits, cakes, and chips, give your child some fresh fruit, crusty bread, or crackers. Avoid carbonated drinks or sodas and instead substitute them with fresh juices diluted with water or sugar-free drinks. Sweets can be replaced with dried or canned fruit, frozen yoghurt can be an alternative to ice cream, and bagels can be substituted with doughnuts. On this note, avoid storing fatty and sugary foods in the house and replace them with healthier alternatives.

Avoid fried food – Try serving foods that are either grilled or baked instead of fried. Burgers and sausages are just as tasty when grilled, but have a lower fat content. Oven-baked potato chips are lower in fat than fried chips.

Change your eating habits first – Child obesity can be faulted to poor eating habits. But before you enforce your child new rules on eating, parents should change their eating habits first so that their children follow them by example.

Provide meals at regular times – Serve meals at a fixed schedule and avoid "impromptu food servings". This is to prevent "grazing" throughout the day.

Avoid "TV Dinners" – Eating while watching TV actually makes your kid eat more. This rule should also be applied during homework.

Eat as a family – Make mealtimes an occasion. The whole family should eat as often as possible. Having the family eat one whole pizza is better than having your child be tempted to eat the whole thing.

Eat only when hungry – Persuade your children to "listen to their tummies" and eat only when they are hungry instead of merely out of habit. 

Chew food slowly – Teach your children to chew their food slowly as they savor the food more. It makes them feel fuller more quickly and be less likely to overeat.

Get them involved in preparing food – This makes your children more aware of what they are eating.

Avoid giving them strenuous exercises – What doctors recommend is a gradual increase in physical activity, such as brisk walking, to at least an hour a day. You can also encourage your children to walk to school instead of riding a car; go to the park on weekends and play physical games like football or Frisbee; take special trips to an adventure play park or ice skating rink; and when it’s safe to do so, you can teach your child to ride a bike.

Reduce physical inactivity – This includes activities such as watching TV or playing video games. Try to reduce these dormant hobbies to no more than two hours a day or an average of 14 hours a week. Also, encourage your children to be selective about what they watch, concentrating only on the programs that they really enjoy.

Do not treat food with emotional significance – Do not use food to comfort your child, and give him or her attention, listening, and hugs instead. Also, avoid using food as a reward. Instead of having a fast-food meal to celebrate a good school report, but a gift, go to the cinema, or have a friend to stay overnight.


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