Over the past 2 decades the rise in childhood diabetes has directly related to the rise in childhood obesity. Coincidence? I think not! Also, in the past 30 years the number of children identified as overweight has increased by 100%.
This isn't at all about body shaming, but about being healthy. You see, being overweight as a child is even a more powerful predictor of disease and premature death than being an overweight adult.
The problem is that many kids are eating too much fat and sugar and not enough fruits and veggies.
As a busy parent of 2 boys I completely understand how difficult it can be to prepare healthy meals during our activity filled days. However, it is literally a matter of life and death that we as parents figure out a way for our kids to be healthier. Let's not wait until chronic disease hit, but be preventive instead.
I hear it all the time... my kid doesn't like fruit, or my kids won't eat veggies... etc. I am here to tell you that there are ways to influence your child's eating habits. When it comes to our kids we know that we have to prepare them for life and help keep them safe. We teach our kids not to run out into the street even though their natural instinct is usually to do just that. We teach them to stay away from snakes, chemicals, medications and anything that might be toxic to them. Why then, don't we approach their nutrition in the same manner?
I know why... because we are busy and this is just one more thing and you are tired. I get it, believe me I do! Below are some ways to encourage our kids to eat healthy:
First and foremost it is important that our children see us eating healthy. In our household, we quite often have conversations in about why myself and my husband are avoiding certain foods. I know that at times our kids do make unhealthy choices, but they are starting to understand the consequences better. For example when my youngest child has a lot of sugar he often has wild mood swings and then consequently ends up getting grounded. When we are able to show him the connection between what he ate (usually at a friend's house) and how he felt later in the day he starts to understand how powerful food can be.
Have healthy food available at all times! In the house make sure that your kids can freely access healthy foods such as spring water, raisins, bananas, apples, oranges, etc. Also when you are on the road throw some of these items into your purse or a bag.
Make small changes to the foods that they like. For some time my kids seem to only eat PB&J sandwiches. So, I found a healthy multi-grain bread and switched to natural peanut butter as well as fruit preserves (instead of jelly) and they had no issues. You could also change one thing at a time or blend in the healthier versions slowly.
Whenever possible, cook at home! Cooking at home is healthier & cheaper, and if you can get your kids involved it teaches valuable lessons not to mention the great quality time you gain!
Openly communicate the benefits of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes... etc. Don't feel like you need to know all of the answers... kids love to search for information on their own so if you don't know (for example) why corn is so good for them then have them look it up and tell you! It will be fun to learn together, I PROMISE!
Worse case scenario there may be times that you make them eat healthy. I know that my kids don't always get enough fiber and antioxidants so every morning I have each of them eat a strawberry, a spinach leaf, blueberries, and cherries. I call it their "medicine" and they oblige. I have one that doesn't like strawberries but he will eat one strawberry and I have one that doesn't like blueberries but he will eat one blueberry... it just isn't a big deal and it is super easy to set out each morning.
Also, I am here to help! Feel free to fill out this survey if you would like more personalized information or if you are interested in having an Individual or Family Nutrition Consultation! There is no charge for the survey or to answer simple questions!