The dietary and nutritional needs of a child are far more important than that of adults. In your formative years what you eat can mould what your body becomes in later life.
- Supply a wide range of healthy snacks that children can grab for themselves. Slowly move away from unhealthy snacks such as potato chips and chocolate biscuits. Get a variety of whole wheat cereals, different breads, fresh fruit, fat free yogurt etc.
- Mix some fat free milk with whole milk and keep it in a jug.
- If your children truly love junk food, cook your own at home rather than getting takeaways, this should only be as a treat and not eaten very often. Use lean beef to make burgers, serve on a whole wheat bun with lots of salad, and try to avoid fatty dressings. Make your own oven-baked chips by cutting potatoes into thick chips and cook in a hot oven.
- Make a healthy version of a soft drink by mixing one-third fruit juice with two-thirds fizzy water.
- If your children buy lunch at school (occasionally), find out what options are available and talk to them about the smart decisions to make. Don't persist on them taking a cut lunch every day if this makes them uncomfortable. I’m sure most of you can remember what it is like at school, with kids all wanting to be the same, and not wanting to stand out or be different.
- When buying fast food, do not always go for the high fat options like McDonalds or KFC, but try lower fat options such as Subway.
- Make your own popcorn at home, avoiding butter and salt if possible.
- If you know your child loves a particular type of food which is high in fat, don't cut it out entirely, this would upset your child and probably reverse the healthy process. Include it in their diet once every week or two. Try to find a healthier version of the food by searching the internet, or email us here at www.getkidsactive.com and we will do the searching for you absolutely free of charge.
- Buy a set of ice block moulds and fill them with sugar free juice and freeze for a delicious cool ice block that your children will love.
- Encourage them to make their own shakes. They can use any soft fruits: bananas, peaches, raspberries, strawberries and blend with fat-free milk then top with a scoop of low-fat ice-cream if they wish (and I’m sure they will!)
- For a classier snack, you can mix dried fruits with sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds. The kids will look at this to begin with and not want to try it because it looks ‘too healthy’. If you eat it with them they will try it and get to love it.
- If you notice your child eating a fatty food, don't make a fuss about it because no-one is perfect and fatty snacks are OK but only occasionally. The most important thing is to teach them healthy eating habits which will last a lifetime.
- Do not judge or compare your child in a bad way with anybody else. I know that everyone will remember hearing about "so-and-so being so good at this and that, or so clever, or so good looking". Kids pick up on these simple things that we take for granted and what they take in is "I wish you were more like so and so".
- Continually talking about losing weight can have a negative effect so be careful. Eating disorders in teenage girls, who have grown up in a household where someone else is obsessed with their image, is growing and very dangerous for your child’s health.
- Introduce healthy eating habits to your child as early as you can. Remember it is never too late to start. The wonderful thing about kids is that they become accustomed to new ideas very quickly.
- THE most important thing is leading by example - whether you are a parent, teacher, grandparent, or coach whatever you do make sure your children see you acting on what you preach.
Get Kids Active is a brand new independent initiative in New Zealand with the purpose of helping children and their families! Our aim is to help fight child obesity in New Zealand and get New Zealand children off the couch and active! At
www.GetKidsActive.com you will find articles, recipes, tips, suggestions, competitions, and a live chat where parents can share ideas and inspirations, a photo gallery, and even a shop!