Overweight kids? Stop pointing fingers and move on (to a healthy snack of course).
by Lee Sutherland of Fitness In The City
You probably have heard a bit of chatter in the media lately about overweight children, coupled with people pointing fingers from all directions (and writing snide comments) towards the mother in question, whispering behind their hands highly emotive accusations such as ‘child abuse’.
But you know what? It (‘it’ being overweight kids) happens. And while it may not be ideal, cute baby fat can sometimes hang around for a bit longer than the term refers, or not move at all. The only thing to do is address the issue (in a healthy, non panicked matter) and move on. Pretty simple really!
As the gorgeous Australian media personality Chrissie Swan stated in her Sunday Life column after the appalling public backlash from the Woman’s Weekly photos of her children, Chrissie was giving her sons nutritious foods like bananas – but just too many of them. Enter education (she sought professional advice) which results in action, followed by steps to slowly and smartly the address the situation.
That is exactly what it comes down to; a little more education on food choices which if we are being honest, everyone in the world could do with a little more of!
Mums should be encouraged to learn about the benefits of feeding their family on whole foods and the reality of the dangers of fast food. I get it, sometimes when life is out of control and the golden arches pronounce an easy dinner option right there in front of us (which for the record is not a McGood idea in terms of educating your child to make smart food choices in years to come…just saying…), it is far better to discuss food options with your kids and label fast food as a ‘sometimes’ meal because of the effects it has on our bodies.
Encourage your children to take note of how they feel after drinking a soft drink or eating a bucket of chips. Help them understand the effects these foods are having on their moods, their energy levels and their bodies. When kids are given the tools to understand why some foods need to be restricted, they are able to understand why their parents so often say ‘no’ (hopefully!) to these types of foods. The earlier this mindset is introduced to your kids, the easier it will become the norm in your house. The reverse is true: refer to the delicious and nutritious whole foods you serve to your children as ‘superfoods’ that give them ‘super’ minds, energy and strong bodies.
So, if you have already replaced sugar coated bars for healthy kid snack options (such as spreading peanut butter or ABC spread (almond, brazil & cashews nut spread) on apple slices – yum), and you’ve cut out the junk food (except for that rare ‘sometimes’ day) the next important step is getting them moving, in any way possible!
Here are some more healthy eating and exercise tips you can provide as parents:
- Don’t buy soft drink or cordial and limit fruit juice to one glass a day.
- Encourage your children to drink water – just a star chart reward system to get them in the habit.
- Ensure they have a nutritious breakfast, switch sugar loaded cereal to puffed rice or oats and play with different styles of eats and omelets to hide vegetables.
- Avoid using high sugar foods such as lollies as rewards for good behavior.
- Read food packaging and labels for hidden sugar – foods marketed as ‘low fat’ are usually the worst for high kilojoules!
- Encourage minders and grandparents not to give energy dense, nutrient poor foods.
- Prepare healthy snacks and meals together and make extra so they can have it as snacks at school.
- Don’t set target weights. Ever.
- Spend active time together as a family – let them see you be active too.
- Practice what you preach – your actions are a mirror of example for your children.