WHAT PARENTS SHOULD KNOW
Parents born in village setup will agree with me that eating healthy is by “default”.
By this I mean that there are no fast foods outlets at their door step. So whether you like it or not you will have to prepare a meal for the family from what is available from the farm. But talk to parents in the city set up with the “roller coaster” lifestyle where you have to achieve a thousand tasks in a day.
I am one of those city parents where, I find myself not able to keep up with the good nutritional value food as often as I would love to do it. Fortunately for me I have taught my 17 year- old- daughter how to prepare a good balanced meal, and I thank God for that for she has rescued me quite often.
The key to keeping kids of all ages at a healthy weight is taking a whole family approach. It is the “practice what you preach” mentality. Make healthy eating and exercise a family affair. Get your kids involved by letting them help you plan and prepare healthy meals, and take them along when you go grocery shopping so they can learn how to make good food choices.
PREVENTING OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY
Avoid falling into this common food/eating behavior traps
Don’t reward kids for good behavior or try to stop bad behavior with sweets or treats. Come up with other solutions to modify their behavior.
Don’t maintain a clean-plate policy. Be aware of kids’ hunger cues. Even babies who turn away from the bottle or breast send signals that they’re full. If kids are satisfied, don’t force them to continue eating. Reinforce the idea that they should only eat when they’re hungry.
Don’t talk about “bad foods” or completely eliminate all sweets and favorite snacks from kids’ diet. Kids may rebel and overeat these forbidden foods outside the home or sneak them in on their own
In additional to the above here are a few tips that might help parents prevent obesity from young age
Birth to age 1: Breastfeeding: Though the exact mechanism is not known, breastfed babies may be more able to control their own intake and follow their own internal hunger cues. This may help prevent excessive weight gain.
Ages 2 to 6: Start good habits early. Help shape food preferences by offering a variety of health foods. Encourage kids’ natural tendency to be active and help them build on developing skills
Ages 7 to 12: Encourage kids to be physically active every day. Whether through an organized sports team or a pick up game of soccer during holidays. Keep your kids active at home too, through everyday activities like walking, playing in the yard. Let them be more involved in making good food choices, such as packing lunch.
Ages 13 to 17: Teens like fast food, but try to steer them toward healthier choices like grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, and smaller sizes. Teach them how to prepare healthy meals and snacks at home. Encourage them to be active every day.
All ages: cut down on TV, computer and video games time and discourage eating while watching the tube. Serve a variety of health foods and eat meals together as often as possible. Encourage kids to have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, limit sugar-sweetened beverages, and eat breakfast every day.
Lastly parents should note that it is their duty to set a good example of eating well balanced diet, exercising regularly and incorporating healthy habits into the family’s daily life, and by doing so it will model a healthy lifestyle for the kids that will last a lifetime.