The focus on health and fitness has increased in the past few decades, and it’s not because humans are healthier than ever and want to be even healthier. It is the fact that 2/3 of Americans are either overweight or obese.
Worse yet is the fact that 31.8% of all kids in the United States are either overweight or obese and 16.9% of those are obese.
That is definitely putting the pressure on all of us, and on parents to consider ways to raise super healthy kids, instead of those who are plagued by risks of healthy issues as a result of obesity or being overweight.
A lot of us are carrying around extra pounds as a result of harmful lifestyle habits. These habits result in various diseases, disorders and early death.
The problem is made worse by the fact that our young are also susceptible to this problem. The rates of obesity are increasing alarmingly in kids, as almost 1/3 of the children in the US are overweight.
Is there enough pressure on parents and tutors to raise super healthy kids?
It should be sufficient, and there are many things, some of them are potentially fun too, that can be done that will help your kids become healthier and form habits that will, hopefully, keep them super healthy throughout their life.
The Building Blocks Of Super Healthy Kids
Healthier Food Habits
This one is relatively easier. Unless they are extraordinary, kids won’t be doing the cooking.
Parents can control what goes in the food, and decide what the food will be. If parents are not cooking at home and order restaurant food every day, they should start cooking at home. That will mean that parents can opt for healthier options.
Food Groups Kids Should Eat From Each Day:
Depending on the age of the child, serving sizes differ, so make sure to find out what is ideal for the kids.
Calorie Limits And Portion Control
Control the portion sizes. Too much of anything is dangerous.
Ever heard about a kid who died from eating too much broccoli? No? The reason for that might be that that never happened.
However, there has to be a balance of all nutrients. Lopsided intake of calories from a single source will have negative consequences. Aim for a balance.
One of the reasons that the obesity rates are so high among kids is the fact that they eat more than they burn because they do not get the recommended 60 days of moderate physical activity.
Parents and teachers should know the recommended intake that is based on age, gender and activity levels of the child and use that information to plan appropriate meals at home and school.
Better Food Choices
Ditch all the refined flour products, and opt for the healthier whole-grain substitutes.
Similarly, reduce the salt and fat content. Prudent use of different herbs and spices will maintain the palatability of the food.
Sugar is the one thing kids love, and a lot of it is not good for them. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that kids consume a maximum of 12 grams per day, which equals 3 teaspoons.
Homemade fruit ice creams and sorbets can replace the store bought ones. Use unrefined raw sugar or honey, which offer some antioxidants along with sweetness, and it makes an healthier dessert option. Do the same for baked goods.
Baking at home will allow you to control the ingredients and choose healthier substitutions to provide kids with better sweets than those pre-made products that are filled with sugar and preservatives.
Stock your kitchen with healthier snack options:
- Various fruits
- Fruit juices without sugar
- Low and nonfat yogurt fairy products
- Flavored whole grain crackers
- Tic Tacs ( 2 calories per piece and NO sugar)
- Fruit leather
- Cereal bars
- Granola bars
- Banana chips
- Zero sugar nutrition bars
- Graham crackers
- Fig bars
- Vanilla wafers
- Fruit and caramel dip
- Kashi GoLean bars
- Baked chips
- Vegetable chips
- Soy crisps
- Rice cakes
- Unbuttered popcorn
- Pita chips
- Whole wheat pretzels
Tackling The Devils
This is an outline of the things that can be done to make meals healthier. Now the tough part, how to make the kids eat the healthier meals.
Kids are fussy eaters. Sugar and fat register as rewards in the brain, and they want more of it. The same thing will not happen with the healthier options. What is the solution? Talk to them. The rational ability of kids is underestimated. Explain to them the benefits and negative foods in a fun way. Get your imaginative juices flowing.
Forcing a healthier lifestyle will mean that it will be discarded whenever they will get the opportunity, but, by making them realize the benefits of being healthy, you will help them develop habits that will stay with them longer because they chose those habits and you will have super healthy kids!
You can also involve kids in the cooking process of a new food, making it a fun-filled activity. They will definitely eat some of it.
Cutting and presenting food in different shapes helps in making it seem more appetizing.
Exercise and Physical Activity
Now that you have a few ideas to control the food intake of your kids, here are some ideas to ensure that they actually need the amount they are eating. Kids need at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity activity every day. You can achieve some of that by being involved with your kids in fun physical games.
Even a walk every day will help kids remain fit. Vary the intensity and increase the fun quotient by involving them in different games,
Doing chores together can be a fun activity. Ditching the car for short trips with a fun walks is also a good idea.
Sports are great too. Try different sports with kids and see which one they enjoy. However, not every kid who enjoys a sport is destined to become a great player. Encourage them to play for a healthy lifestyle, but don’t pin your ambitions on their shoulders. Let them have fun. In addition, some might not like any of the common sports. It’s important to encourage them to try different activities and find out the one that they enjoy.
Teach By Example
It is imperative to teach kids by setting a good example and being a positive role model in fitness.
Filed under: Nutrition for Kids