Childhood obesity has reached staggering rates in this country. Did you know that one in three children are overweight by the time they graduate from elementary school? Children who carry excess weight are more likely to be taunted and teased by their peers. What can parents do to help keep their children at an average weight and assist them in developing healthy eating habits? Well, the answers may shock you.
Start packing healthy
Ask any teacher at your child’s school, and they will tell you where parents need to make a change. It isn’t enough that the school systems in this country have a mandate on calories, fat grams, and making sure the lunches they serve falls within the four major food groups. However, when students don’t like what the school serves, their parents pack for them instead.
What’s in these lunch boxes? Well, teachers are horrified to see students consuming things like candy bars, soft drinks, full sugared juices, chips, and quick lunch products that are full of carbs and sugars.
A little sweet treat never hurt anyone. However, when there is nothing nutritious in their lunchbox, then it starts to affect the waistline. Parents buy these quick fix eats because they don’t have time to make a healthy lunch.
Everyone is busy, and peeling and slicing an apple seems like an impossible task to someone with little time. Stop serving your kids junk food! They are worth the effort to shop and provide healthy items. They need the nutrients that come from nature. It helps keep their immunity high and weight low.
Incorporate new foods at home
It’s hard to break old habits, but if you begin incorporating healthier items into your meals slowly, then your children will soon catch on. Also, when it comes to packing lunches, ask them to help you with the preparation. When children feel like they are part of making something, they will be more inclined to eat it.
Try incorporating one new nutritious food item each week. Ask your children to taste fresh foods, and don’t make them eat it all if they don’t like it. However, they need to try it a couple of times to make an informed opinion. For instance, they may not like mashed sweet potatoes, but they may love them baked with a bit of cinnamon on top.
Learning how to pack healthy
What should you pack in your child’s lunch? Well, why not try some crunchy vegetables and ranch dip? You can add apples and peanut butter to their bucket too. Other things that children like that are healthy include yogurt, raisins, salad, hummus and pitas, berries, and rice pudding.
Packing sandwiches made from tuna, chicken salad, peanut butter, or a deli cut lunch meat is filling and healthy. To keep things fresh, freeze a water or juice box to ensure everything stays fresh. It will be thawed by the time they go to lunch, and they will have a nice, cold drink.
In conclusion, healthy eating habits don’t come naturally to children. You must teach your children the benefits of a nutritious diet. With a little work, they will crave the healthy stuff and leave the junk behind.