Over the past 30 years, restaurant portions have nearly tripled. This is concerning given that more families with busy schedules are dining out than ever before. In addition, sugar-sweetened beverages are in style, and recess and physical education have seen significant declines in schools. Numerous plenity cost children and adolescents are developing unhealthy lifestyle habits that lead to obesity as a result of less physical activity and increased availability of unhealthy food and beverages.
Nancy Krebs, MD, Head of Nutrition at Children’s Colorado, advises parents to strive to be healthy eating and drinking role models for their children in order to avoid the severe and frequently lifelong health risks associated with childhood obesity. Families can learn more and feel more confident and empowered to establish healthy habits by reading the numerous parent resource articles on our website that provide lifestyle advice for children.
Increase parental involvement at home and in school.
At school, be aware of the school’s policies regarding food and exercise. Contact school officials and try to influence policies if you have a concern.Encourage fundraisers that do not include the sale of food, particularly those that include soda or junk food.
Avoid bringing cash for vending machines with young children to school.
Include your child in the process of packing the lunch you bring to school. Make use of MyPlate to find out what foods you should pack. Alternatively, if your child consumes school lunch, consult this guide.
At home, make sure the kitchen is stocked with fruits and vegetables and don’t buy junk food.
At the grocery store, let your child choose one or two new vegetables or fruits.
Make your child aware that they can always consume more vegetables.
On Sunday nights, make food or a weekly meal plan.
Make healthy snacks in advance. Vegetables and fruit can be cut up for “grab and go.”
Cookbooks and recipes can be found on healthy websites.
Healthy eating and physical activity are crucial for young children, who are more likely to adopt them as routines. Dr. Krebs tvidler ear cleaner claims that children respond well to regular schedules’ predictability because it makes them feel safe.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Kids need the right amount of energy to keep up with their studies. They are more likely to overeat later in the day and lose energy and focus if they skip breakfast. It can be just as bad to eat the wrong breakfast. Pastries and sugary cereal don’t fill them up very quickly and don’t give them enough energy for a full school day. The following can be included in a healthy breakfast:
Carbohydrates (hot or cold whole-grain cereals like oatmeal, whole-grain toast, whole-grain waffles or pancakes with light syrup) Fruit (fresh or frozen with no added sugar) Vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned) We’ve added two of our favorite breakfast recipes to our Resources page. Protein sources include low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, lean meats like turkey, and a small serving of nuts.
Eat at home
Even though it’s fine to eat out occasionally, doing so frequently risks making unhealthy food choices and servings that are too large for your children the norm. According to Dr. Krebs, children who eat at home are more likely than those who frequently eat out to consume fruit and vegetables.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time to make meals at home. Planning ahead and having the appropriate food on hand can be helpful. Start making healthy, quick meals by following these steps. When you do go out to eat, our nutritionists can show you how to select healthier options.
Keep track of how much food you eat.
Children don’t need as much food as adults do, but the amount they need can vary depending on their age, gender, and activity level. A two-year-old has different dietary requirements than a seven-year-old, and a seven-year-old has different dietary requirements than a 15-year-old. Although MyPlatePlan can provide you with a general understanding of portion sizes according to age, you should regularly discuss what is best for your child with their primary care physician.
When children consume unhealthy food, they frequently consume more. This food frequently contains a lot of simple carbohydrates, like sugar and fat, which make it tasty but also have a lot of calories. Children may eat more unhealthy foods in order to feel full because simple carbohydrates do not provide the same sense of satisfaction or fullness as a healthy serving size of nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables.
Read about our patient Brandon, whose family put a lot of emphasis on portion control to help him adopt healthier lifestyle choices.
Cut back on soda
Children who consume sugar-sweetened beverages will typically consume more than 200 calories per day. Krebs says that the problem isn’t just with soda; it also affects sugar-sweetened drinks like lemonade, energy drinks, sweet tea, and fruit juice. Your child’s risk of obesity is increased by all of these, which contain added sugar.
The best beverage is water, but taste is a problem. According to Dr. Krebs, fruit contains important vitamins and minerals as well as fiber, which makes children feel fuller. Children who consume juice rather than a whole fruit typically consume more calories. Children should only consume a small 4-ounce serving of juice per day, according to experts. The best option is to provide sparkling or flavored water. Make your own calorie-free water popsicles for a fun snack. The delicious recipe can be found on our Resources page.
Dr. Krebs suggests that parents encourage children to play outside safely to encourage physical activity. This can be any activity, like family biking or hiking, or it can just be exploring the outdoors. The most important thing is that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, which can be broken up into 10-, 15-, or 20-minute bursts. When kids are allowed to play outside, especially with other kids, they learn to take turns, listen, work together, follow the rules, and be independent.