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Teach Your Kids to Choose Healthy Foods

Childhood obesity is rapidly growing throughout the world, especially in industrialized countries where fast food restaurants become the normal eating habit for families. Not only is childhood obesity on the rise, but also the health conditions for those overweight children and adolescents. Being overweight at a young age can cause a massive amount of diseases throughout the child’s life and could have long-term effects. There is much concern in general over the obesity level in the US, nearly 25% of Americans are considered obese.

Parents of young children are rightly concerned; especially if obesity is a family problem, (genetics plays a large role in obesity). Nevertheless, there are ways to prevent obesity and maintain a child’s weight after they have come down to their ideal weight. Eating right and exercise are the most valuable tools when fighting obesity and keeping your ideal weight where it needs to be. But how does one teach their children how to eat right?

Preschool
If there’s one thing for sure that children love it’s foods that look fun. When you want to make healthy foods that your children will love, creating fun scenes with those foods will encourage fun while eating, like the old ants on a log recipe. (Fill empty side of a stick of celery with Peanut Butter and place five or six raisins on the top to resemble ants on a log). You can also camouflage your children’s vegetable by mixing them in to other foods various ways (see the Baby Zone link under resources below).

Yet, some parents still have a hard time camouflaging their children’s food. When you are unable to camouflage your child’s vegetables then it’s time to the pull out the tried and true method, make a good role model. Eating your vegetables and helping them to understand what part of the body those vegetables help to maintain. Broccoli is so good for you that it can fight bad diseases that can hurt children and adults. 

Main points to address:

  • Be a good role model.
  • Animate vegetables and fruits.
  • Make nutritional meals fun.

Grades K-3rd
When children are involved in their diet they are more likely to continue to eat in the same manner throughout their lives. Hang a food group poster in your kitchen and talk about the foods we are supposed to eat and the amount we are should eat daily. Talk to your children about the types of foods (that are their favorite) have some or all the food groups needed daily. Allow them to be active with you in the kitchen, even asking their advice, “We have a meat and potato dish for this evening, what else do we need with it to make it a balanced meal.”

Talk to your children about obesity, the effects of obesity and how eating healthy is the first good step against fighting obesity. Allow them to observe individuals who are overweight, although we don’t suggest you take your child out and point at individuals on the street, but you can visit websites of people who have lost weight or obesity sites that feature individuals who are overweight. It is recommended to show your children the effects of obesity, don’t ask them if they want to look like that. Simply state not only are the medical issues of obesity great, but the self-esteem is disastrous for obese people.

Main points to address:

  • Get them involved.
  • Explain obesity and the hazards of obesity.
  • Have fun with food.

Grades 4th-6th
One of the best defenses for healthy eating is education. Educating yourself and your children together will create a bond and a love for eating healthy between the both of you. Don’t just educate yourself on the benefits of eating healthy, the affects of not eating healthy, but also important information on obesity and the dangers of being overweight. This will also spark an interest in exercise and maintaining a healthy body, we all only get one body to care for.

Cook meals together. Make making dinner together just as fun as eating it together, this is also a great way to teach your child how to cook and share a moment of bonding. Talk about your days, share experiences, or discover new things about each other.

Finally go grocery shopping together. Take a trip to the grocery store together and do weekly shopping only. While you are there take a gander on buying fruits or vegetables that neither of you have ever tried. You can go online and get recipes for the new fruit or vegetable you recently picked up and give each family member a very small amount. Expand your healthy eating to a variety of fruits and vegetables. And most important  EHave fun while you’re eating healthy.

Main points to address:

  • Educate yourselves together.
  • Cook meals together.
  • Go shopping together.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Fun for Kids

Posted in Health.

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