With childhood obesity rates doubling within the last two decades it has become evident that childhood obesity is a serious problem and will continue to be so until we can teach our children how to live a healthy life. With working parents and so many extra curricular activities going on, it has become harder to sit down and eat a healthy, nutritious meal with your family. There are certainly several different ways and diets that help combat childhood obesity as well as other ideas on how to prevent it from becoming a problem with your children. Let’s take a closer look at some dieting ideas you can adopt to help combat childhood obesity.
· Eating out is probably the worst thing you could do for you child in terms of health and nutrition. Certainly there are times during the week or preferably the month that eating out is sometimes necessary and our schedules just don’t seem to accommodate a nutritious meal, however this should not become the norm. Fast food is definitely the cheapest but is by far the worst kind of food you can eat. Places like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Arby’s are all places where you can get burgers, fries, and a soft drink and can contribute largely to the rising statistics of childhood obesity. If you have to eat out and want to keep it cheap then don’t be afraid to order other things off the menu like a chicken salad with some apple slices, or a baked potato with an apple juice. You don’t always have to eat the worst thing on the menu.
· Well balanced meals are a necessity in a child’s diet in order to keep their bodies healthy and strong. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to spend all day making a nutritious meal for kids who probably won’t really appreciate it. There are quick menu ideas you can get from various different places that can be made quickly and include vegetables and your other daily servings that are necessary for a child to eat. Nothing can make up for a well balanced meal. If you want to be really strict about it you can also count calories that you’re using, however it is recommended that you don’t get your kids into this habit as it can sometimes make them self conscience about what and how they’re eating. As a parent you can count calories and daily servings for them to make sure that they’re getting everything they need. As they get older you can then start including them in your healthy eating and meal making habits so they know how to eat nutritionally when they’re away from home.
· Fruits and Vegetables are part of a well balanced meal but need to be given to children throughout the day also; not just during meal times. Children need at least 2-4 servings of fruit daily and 3-5 servings of vegetables daily. Most children who are obese aren’t even getting half of that. A diet that consists of too many carbohydrates and fats will most definitely lead to higher rates in childhood obesity, so learn how to balance the good foods with the not so good.
· Teaching your child to eat proper portion sizes is another change to your diet everyone in the family can make. Americans are excellent at overeating because they take much larger portion sizes than what is recommended. If adults are doing this then why would our children behave any differently? Smaller portion sizes and small healthy snacks throughout the day can help children learn to balance what they eat and not force it down every time they see it.
· A healthy diet that combats childhood obesity should also contain plenty of fluids. We’re not talking about soda and high fructose drinks here; we’re talking about water, low sugar juices, and milk. Instead of sending your child to school with a can of soda, send them with a bottle of water. They’re bigger, they last longer, and they help keep them better hydrated. Low sugar juices are all right now and then, but drinking lots of milk and water can keep a body strong and healthy and help flush out the junk.
This type of diet can help combat childhood obesity and help your child take the next step in living a healthier, active life. It’s important to keep in mind that every child is different and has different needs so talk with your doctor about ideas that will work for you.