Tips for Parents–Ideas to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight
There are tons of trends that have been introduced into the world recently and some of them are great while others are not so helpful. One trend that’s on the rise is childhood obesity and according to the Center for Disease Control approximately 13.7 million children and young adults are affected by obesity.
This means that children from 2 to 19 are at risk of being overweight before they become adults. Many specialists, doctors, and parents are worried that this trend may reach into their homes and affect their children.
However, as parents, you can prevent this from happening by setting a healthy standard within your home that will allow your child to maintain a healthy weight. Parents ask themselves how can I prevent childhood obesity? What strides can I take to ensure that my child lives a healthier lifestyle?
To ease your worry there are some suggestions and ideas that you can implement in order to reduce your child’s risk of obesity.
What makes childhood obesity so dangerous?
A child that is obese may be subjected to a more stressful life at an earlier age. Children who are obese are found to be prone to bullying more so than a child that is at an average weight.
Bullying can cause depression, alienation, isolation from their peers, low self-esteem, and may even lead to some suicidal behavior. Suffering from such issues from an early age can cause your child to have bigger and more developmental issues as they continue to grow and can affect them into their adulthood.
Being obese before your joints and muscles have had a chance to grow can cause your child to suffer from a number of bone and joints problems, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and many other persistent health ailments.
How can I as a parent prevent my children from becoming obese?
In order to help your child maintain a healthy weight, you will need to create a healthy diet for your children. This means making sure that their daily caloric intake is balanced and has the proper nutrients that they need.
Using a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, fats, and proteins coupled with daily exercise and activity will allow your child to grow and maintain a normal weight for their age. However, you should not restrict the don’t of children that are overweight without consulting your child’s physician.
Encourage proper eating habits
Eating a well-balanced diet is a great way to help your children maintain their normal weight while allowing them to mature and develop properly. There are some things that you will want to keep in mind when it comes to stabilizing your child’s daily caloric intake.
- Choose a variety of proteins for your child preferable leans meats and a variety of legumes. Poultry, beans, lentils, fish, and lamb are all examples of lean meats. Lean meats are healthier for you because it’s a good source of protein while lowering the fat content of the meat.
- Choose low fat and nonfat dairy products for your children to consume. Dairy that has less fat in it will always be considered healthier than dairy products that contain full fat in them.
- Consume plenty of whole grains which are things like wheat pasta, rice, quinoa, and other grains.
- Provide an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits. Kale, spinach, oranges, apples, green beans, carrots, squash, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and many more. Each fruit or vegetable will offer its own set of benefits for you and your children.
- Limit the consumption of processed sugars and sugar, in general, that may be present in various juices, prepackaged foods, or candies.
- Drink lots of water. Our bodies are made up of 60% water so it is important that we replenish that water daily. Especially when your children are being active throughout the day they will need to restore the water that they lose through sweat.
Come up with new tasty and healthy recipes
It may sound difficult for you to cook healthier foods and meals for your family, but it is not as difficult as you would think it to be. When you think of meals that your family enjoys you would never guess all of the replacements that you can trade within your dish. Take macaroni and cheese for instance.
You can trade the macaroni noodles for either cauliflower or whole wheat pasta and trade the cheese for low fat or non-dairy cheese. The end results if cauliflower macaroni and cheese is a delicious side dish and you would never guess that you were eating vegetables.
If your making pizza consider preparing the same yourself so that you are aware of what exactly is going into the marinara sauce. All you need is canned or fresh tomatoes, basil, and some Italian spices.
Once you’ve combined all the ingredients allow them to simmer for about 10 minutes and then blend them all together. Then apply the sauce to the pizza and add the toppings that you wish to add to your pizza.
If your in need of other recipes and ideas for family meals and treats you can effortlessly google a recipe and a plethora of websites that offer recipes will be at your fingertips.
There is much more to balancing calories than just focusing so much on your child’s specific diet. You will also need to incorporate daily exercise into your child’s daily lives.
If you consume tons of food and remain seated all day you will continue to feel heavy and full throughout the day. That’s why it is important for you and your children to incorporate an activity of their choosing each and every day.
You don’t have to spend five hours outside, but you should aim for approximately thirty minutes to an hour of time outside. Also being outside will give your child the daily dose of vitamin D that they need to develop.
There are many health benefits that come with staying active and exercising such as:
- Maintaining a normal blood pressure. Blood pressure that is too low or too high can put your child in a dangerous position that could cause them to end up in the hospital.
- Increases your child’s self-esteem. When you feel better and more energized then your overall mood will increase and your more likely to adopt some more social attitudes that help you connect with other children your age.
- It helps with weight management.
- Exercising reduces stress and anxiety. It does this by giving your child an outlet to get rid of the anxiety and built-up anger that they may undergo due to school and other sociable things.
- Strengthens your bones and joints which also help your muscles to grow and develop. Your muscles and joints need daily exercise and stretching in order to continue to grow and develop properly.
There are a ton of activities that you and your children can participate in that will count as activities. You may want to go for a walk and make it fun by identifying different sounds, animals, and plants.
By identifying different things on the walk it will keep your child’s mind off of the fact that they are exercising and before they know it they will be asking you to go on a walk more often. You could also go swimming children usually love to play in the water.
Play games like Marco polo that allow you to constantly move about the swimming pool. There are tons of other activities that your children can do including:
- Playing basketball
- Kicking the soccer ball back and forth
- Playing tag
- Throwing the frisbee to one another
- Dancing to your favorite songs or playlist
- Have competition relay races
By taking time daily to exercise it reduces the amount of time that your children spend sitting down and being sedentary. Reading and doing homework is always good to get done, but doing things like watching television and playing video games for hours on end is not healthy or beneficial for your children.
And there is no mental or physical stimulation that is beneficial to your child that comes from playing video games and watching television for too long. It is scientifically researched that exposure to television screens for prolonged periods of time causes issues within your child’s brain that can stunt their mental, physical, and emotional development.
Portion control is important when it comes to maintaining a balanced diet for your family. There are some things you can control in order to make sure that you don’t overeat.
- When you are out to eat instead of eating a whole entree you can split the entree between a child and an adult or a child and their siblings. If this is not possible to do you can always split your meal in half and take the half that you don’t eat home to eat another day.
- When you’re at-home try to avoid serving food in serving bowls. By serving food on individual plates instead of the bowls you can minimize the likelihood that your children will want to eat seconds and thirds. By keeping food down to what is on the plate your children are less likely to overeat.
- When you are watching television get a small bowl to put your children snack in. Do not give them the bag or package that the food is in because it will lead them to consume food mindlessly.
- Instead of having a bowl of candy on the counter replace it with easy to eat fruits like apples and oranges. This will lead to a habit of your children picking up these fruits and vegetables rather than processed sugar foods. You can even put out a small tray of carrots and celery for them to snack on.
If you’re having an issue figuring out how much of a certain type of food is too much then try visiting Choose My plate. It provides a picture image of how much of each food group should be on your child’s plate for them to have a stabilized and healthy diet.
The biggest and most helpful tip that we can give to parents in order to help their children maintain a healthy weight is to be the example that their children see. Children learn the most and the best by observing the things that their parents do.
If you consume a decent amount of fruits and vegetables daily then your children will start to follow suit and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. The same theory applies to exercising.
If you make it a priority to exercise every day and spend time outside rather than in front of the television then your children will do the same. And you will realize that your bond with your child becomes greatly strengthened when you spend more time together participating in activity versus watching a television program.
Modeling the habits you want your children to have will not only help them form reasonable habits but it will help them formulate a process of their own for developing other beneficial habits throughout their lives. Which makes them more productive and successful adults that can be efficient contributors to society.
We hope that this article has been informative and will help you to implement the necessary changes in your children’s lives that they need to lower their risks of becoming overweight. Remember by reducing their risk of becoming overweight you reduce the risk that they will face issues with chronic diseases, inflammation disorders, and other ailments that come from eating improperly and not exercising enough.
Remaining active with a well balanced diet is definitely the way to go!
Bio: Tiffany Simmons is a Georgia mom, wife, and aspiring children’s book writer. Acquiring a BS in Mass Communications & Marketing from the University of West Ga. Leaving a job in the healthcare profession to become a freelance writer for childmode.com!