Childhood obesity is a growing concern in the American family. We, as a country, have some of the most overweight adults on the planet. And our children aren't any healthier than we are. With diets consiting of fast food and little fruits and vegetables, and with exercise routines that include how fast the your thumbs can go on the action button, it's little wonder that our children are slowing gaining on us in the overweight department.
So, what can we do as parents? There are several steps that you can take to ensure your children will remain healthy and happy.
1) limit TV and video game time. Children should watch only two hours of television a day and should play only an hour of video games a day.
2) decrease carbs while increasing whole grains. According to the food pyramid guide, kids only need 6 oz of grains a day. If you give them a bowl of cereal in the morning, a sandwich at lunch, and a bowl of pasta or rice a day, they will have plenty. They also recommend that at least half of those grains be whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice, or flax.
3) increase your fruits and vegetables. The food guide also says that kids need up to four cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Let's face it, most adults don't get that much. Give some juice and a piece of fruit in the morning, carrot sticks at lunch, fruit or raw veggies and dip for snacks, and at least one vegetable at dinner. Need some help with some picky eaters? The Sneaky Chef has some great online recipes to help out with that!
4) don't force the issue. Seriously. There is an old saying that goes "when he's hungry enough, he'll eat". Learn this. Live by this. Know this is true. If he's not hungry enough to eat that plate of mashed potatoes, green beans, and turkey meatloaf, then he's not hungry enough. Forcing our kids to "clean your plates" teaches them the wrong idea. Basic idea is: IF YOU'RE NOT HUNGRY DON'T EAT. Same should go for the children.
5) play with your kids. Go outside or to the park. Run with them. Climb with them. Show them that exercise can be fun family time for all! They'll love the special time with you, and they'll be getting in a workout to boot!
Remember that YOU are your child's best example. You want them to live healthy happy lives? Show them how by living one yourself.