Thirty-three percent of 11-year old UK citizens are overweight or obese. Twenty-two percent of children ages four and five are also overweight.
Obese children are at risk for many scary health problems such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease.
Many parents are seriously concerned about their children’s weight and want to know how they can help. Bear in mind that some children are genetically predisposed to obesity, no matter how many methods the parents try to help them. However, there are a few things parents can do to teach their children about nutrition and how to make wise food choices.
The very first thing all parents should remember is that children learn from example. If you give your children carrot sticks while you are munching a chocolate bar, they will not learn to make proper food choices on their own. Even if you struggle with nutritious eating yourself, you must make an effort to teach your children how to eat correctly.
Children are naturally curious and as a parent, you have heard them ask why a million times!
In the area of food and nutrition, take time to explain when they ask you why. Children are often accepting of the answers that make sense to them. Explaining to them that carrots will help strengthen their eyes will help them want to eat those carrots. If you are unsure of the nutritional value behind a certain food, look it up. It is better to delay your answer than give them the wrong answer.
Involve your children in choosing and cooking nutritious foods. At the supermarket, explain why you want to choose the whole wheat bread over the white. Have them choose one fruit or vegetable they have never eaten and prepare it together.
If you are able to, start a garden with your children. A vegetable that they have planted, watered, weeded and pulled up is much more appealing than one sitting on the shelf at the supermarket.
The best thing you can do is to always have healthy snacks and foods available and be ready to explain why they are good for your child. Eat healthy along with your children and your entire family will reap the benefits of good nutrition.