Obesity experts claim that the prevalence of overweight children and adolescents in the United States has tripled for those between the ages of 6 and 11, and that it has more than doubled for those between the ages of 2 and 5. Problems like diabetes and heart disease are more likely to develop in youngsters who are overweight, and these conditions commonly follow these kids into adulthood.
What can parents do to encourage healthy eating habits among their children, both at home and when dining out?
Expert nutritionist Jenifer Bland-Campbell recommends seeing a paediatrician, family doctor, or registered dietitian to establish reasonable and attainable weight loss goals for the entire family before deciding how to proceed.
She suggests the following methods for promoting healthier eating habits in the home:
Try to have at least one meal together every day, and try to space it out so that you don’t feel tempted to snack.
Don’t only make special foods for an overweight child; provide healthy meals for the whole family.
Avoid using food as a bribe, consolation, or disciplinary tool.
Read the excerpts. Not every situation calls for a “clean your plate” mentality.
Take your time while eating. When the brain finally realises that the body is full, it takes roughly 20 minutes for the stomach to stop producing food.
Instead of high-calorie, sugary drinks, suggest water or skim or 1% milk.
It’s not simple to encourage youngsters to eat the recommended amount of fruits and veggies, but playing up the rainbow of colours can help. Get more advice at www.5aday.org.
Dressings, mayonnaise, and other dairy products that are reduced in fat or fat-free can be used in the same ways as their full-fat counterparts. Children learn through example. When dining out, request the same fixings be served on the side.
Ascend the stairwell. Don’t drive right up to the store’s entrance; instead, park further away and stroll.
Lessen how much time you spend in front of the TV, playing video games, or using the computer.
Burgers and sandwiches made with mayonnaise and cheese can be made with catsup, mustard, or barbecue sauce instead.
Avoid fried foods and instead go for those that are baked, broiled, steamed, or poached.
When eating out, be sure to inquire about the meal’s nutritional breakdown.
It’s important to look beyond the kid’s menu, which is typically filled with fried, high-calorie, high-fat options. You can feed two kids on one adult-sized portion of the healthier option.
Order a little extra and put it in a to-go container before you dig in.
To avoid having to wait for these items, please request that they be provided with the meal.
“Parents can aid their children in achieving wellness objectives by introducing healthy adjustments at home and then educating children what to do when they are not under their supervision,” said Bland-Campbell. Children learn behaviours throughout time by watching their parents, so it’s important for them to model healthy eating habits.
ARAMARK employs Bland-Campbell as a certified dietician; the corporation oversees the catering needs of over 4,000 American schools, universities, and other institutions of higher learning.
ARAMARK’s website, www.diningstyle.com, has studies on Americans’ dietary habits when they are away from home. Parental diners can experiment with new cuisines and learn healthy eating techniques from trained professionals.