These days we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic and many of the victims are children. Unhealthy lifestyles are leading to an increasing number of young people being overweight and unfit and it is a serious problem for both the individuals and society as a whole. The incidence of conditions like diabetes is on the rise and if we are not careful the National Health Service will buckle under the weight of the demand for its resources. Many predict that the current generation could be the first to live shorter lives, on average, than their parents. It is now vital that we make the effort to induce better eating habits in our children.
Avoid the temptation to serve convenience food and ready meals at home. Cook fresh food from scratch to give children a taste for healthy choices. Avoid chips and all fatty foods and include a high vegetable content. Children who grow up with good food are far more likely to stick with it and avoid junk in the future. Convenience food has a high sugar and salt content which children like but which is very unhealthy indeed. Do not give them the opportunity of developing a taste for it! Do not serve sugary and fatty desserts as they are unnecessary and pile on the calories. Use fruit as a replacement and only serve desserts on special occasions.
Try not to use sweets and crisps as treats, snacks and rewards. Bad food should not be associated with good behavior and encouraging constant snacking is a mistake. Try to restrict eating to meal times and provide fruit and the occasional smoothie as a treat.
If the canteen menu at school is not confined to healthy choices provide a packed lunch with healthy options like home-made soups, fruits and salads. Constantly reinforce the message about the hazards of bad eating habits in an attempt to counter the inevitable influence of your children’s peers at school.
Never be tempted to choose fast food as a solution when you are out and about. Take the kids to coffee shops and sandwich bars for Panini and wraps and eat them with tasty fruit juices, smoothies and water.
The Perils of Parties
Kid’s parties often involve the giving of sweets. There is nothing you can do about the parties your kid’s attend but if you are hosting one yourself don’t hand out sweets, provide a healthy menu and put toys and games in the party bags rather than sweets and crisps.
You have a hard battle to fight against peer pressure and the relentless advertising for fast food and sweets that assault us every day but it is a battle worth fighting. A good diet coupled with an active lifestyle will keep your children fit and healthy and engender lifestyle choices which will hopefully stay with them for ever. Their dental health will also be improved and whilst they may be resistant to your efforts they will thank you earnestly later!
Sally Stacey is a guest blogger who often blogs on a number of different interesting topics. Sally was inspired to write this article after recently shopping for children’s science party bags online at Gifts For Tweens.