The government has issued a report that estimates one-third of children in the UK between two to fifteen years old are obese. Children are becoming overweight younger and also taking longer to lose the weight. The truth is, our busy lifestyles allow for little time to prepare healthy nutritional meals. Also, our children are constantly exposed to advertisements of foods that are loaded with sugars and chemicals. It is natural they will prefer unhealthy choices (with artificially enhanced flavours) versus healthy foods. Sugary foods have also been directly linked to lack of attention, ADHA and hyperactivity amongst other issues. So what can you do to help your children?
– Find substitutes for sugary foods that your children will enjoy, such as natural juices (not from concentrate) instead of fizzy drinks. Dry fruits in general (like apricots or bananas) are a great alternative to sweeties.
– Avoid fast foods! If they want a burger or a pizza, try and make it at home instead. You will be able to control the size portions and the ingredients. Cooking with your children is also an excellent way to bond with them. Have fun in the kitchen and turn your kids into little chefs!
– Organise your weekly shopping and cooking! We understand, working 9-5 and looking after your children doesn’t leave much time for cooking. The good news is there are ways you can make things easier. Try doing your food shopping online, it will get delivered straight to your door saving you time. It will also allow you to choose all the ingredients required for your meals (and you won’t be so tempted to buy sugary treats!). Once a week get in the kitchen a make plenty of healthy meals that you can easily freeze. This little effort will also make your week less stressful and your children’s diet more balanced.
– Serve your children appropriate food portions. Ensure you are giving them the right amounts of food for their age.
– Keep an eye on emotional eating. It is easy to form an association between being stressed and eating comforting food. Ensure that when your children are stressed or upset they get in contact with their feelings rather than eating to stop feeling bored, sad or upset.
– Keep them active! A lot has been written about this. Switch off the TV and the computer and ensure your family have fun with physical activities like hiking, dancing or swimming.