Are we as parents the ones to blame for childhood obesity?
So there's no escaping the epidemic that is childhood obesity with record-breaking numbers of children who are meeting the Ã¢¬Ëobese' criteria these days and the constant talks in the news on what needs to be done in schools, homes etc. to prevent these cases happening. I, like many parents agree with the risk of current situations and opportunities for children to Ã¢¬Ësecret eat' and fail to engage in enough effective physical activity on a daily basis but do we ever ask ourselves Ã¢¬ËWhat more can I do personally to not only benefit my child's health but educate them to improve their whole outlook on life?!'
It's one thing talking about it then another thing to actively do something about it.
Guaranteed we are all guilty of giving our little one the odd choccy bar to quieten them down during the hour that is the dreaded weekly food shop! And rewarding our little gems with a sweet treat reward after witnessing them clearing their whole plate Ã¢¬ again, totally acceptable and relatable by most. But it's the substitution of real wholesome foods for candy bars and typical Ã¢¬Ëjunk' that is all too often happening through pure lack of preparation and education that is the silent assassin in this matter. And 9 times out of 10, this again is not always the parent that is 100% to blame here. This could be a result of the parent themselves not being educated from a young age to know good and bad when it comes to food choices and therefore since no harm has come to them in their lifetime they choose to raise their child the same.
The problem is more and more pressure is being put on people these days from the media to eat well and more temptation resists from manufacturers looking for ways to increase business sales by offering discounts for multi-buys with the consumers health status disregarded that we all too often find ourselves completely confused as to what is acceptable to feed our children and what is genuinely affordable.
So, how can we start to make a stand and look out for our own? Well there's plenty of information available out there these days as to how to feed the family under a budget which includes ways of prepping and cooking fresh, nutrient-rich foods. Cooking the meals yourselves allows you to see exactly what goes into the dish and therefore exactly what your child is putting into their body. This eliminates the addition of any artificial sweeteners, colourings and preservatives to name but a few which can often have side effects on your child's moods and behaviour's as well as their waistline. Get children involved in helping you prep the ingredients Ã¢¬ not only will this educate them on cooking for themselves when they are older but is also a great indoor fun activity which your child will appreciate and be more inclined to eat the end result knowing they have helped contribute. Children like to feel a sense of responsibility and involvement. Make funny pictures with vegetables as superheroes and make a story of how carrots allow superheroes to see through walls etc. to get your kiddies excited to eat!
Children also like to copy and what better role model for them to buy into then you! If you are physically active regularly and take care of yourself they will want to be just like you. Make a point of getting out and about on days off with your little ones and engage in an outdoor activity, even if it's something as simple as running around the park.
Make a list of foods you need to cook healthy meals with and stick to this when shopping. If you only have good food in your house, you will only eat good food! Encourage children to eat their meals to grow big and strong and try get them into the habit of valuing sweets as a Ã¢¬Ëtreat'. I remember growing up we used to visit a certain popular fast food chain once a month and be excited to go. Nowadays it seems the norm!
When it comes to getting active, enrol your kiddie in a sporting hobby and improve their fitness alongside learning life-long skills and techniques. Make sure it's something your child actually wants to do so you're not having to force them to go each time and this will also encourage them to practice more at home therefore keeping them physically active for longer.
For all other ideas on how to keep your little ones occupied and healthy meal ideas click HERE
Sarah Philp is a Level 3 qualified Personal Trainer as well as Pre & Post-Natal Fitness instructor and proud mummy of one to her son Isaac. After having her first child, Sarah was keen to bounce back to her fitness lifestyle and through discovering barriers to exercise first-hand, decided that she wanted to develop the concept of fitness for new mums, inspiring them with tricks and tips on how to bond with baby whilst regaining that pre-pregnancy body! Launching the new online pre & post-natal blog, housed on the main Xercise4Less website, providing a platform to show new mums you can still be fit, have a career and enjoy baby too, Sarah shows how you can âhave it all!'
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