We know that more kids are more obese today than ever before, and our diets are so far removed from natural today, that we need to educate kids and reintroduce them to eating in a normal, healthy, natural manner.
To make sure that our children make a healthy start in life, they need to be made aware of what is good for health and what is bad for it from an early age. As parents we can:
1. Enjoy physical activity together every day. This can start as soon as the child is old enough to walk and can evolve along with the child’s growth and changing interests.
Get a little creative and make sure that there are always some fun activities to do together as a family, even if it means just walking down to the shop for some groceries together.
2. Interest them in sport. Watch sport on TV, go watch events live, and regularly play the sport of choice. Get the child to join a team or attend a class so that he or she learns about the game and develops skills relating to the sport.
3. Most children understand the importance of eating healthy because it makes them big and strong or smart and intelligent (milk has calcium for strong bones and fish contains healthy oils that are good for the brain).
So explain to children the fact that what they are eating is good for them and why. Also explain how certain foods develop immunity which means that they have to visit the doctor fewer times. Explain these things in simple words and in concepts that are age appropriate.
4. Be flexible. Being rigid about food and not letting the child have the occasional ice cream or cake makes the child hanker for these “goodies” even more. So try to eat healthy but don’t be fanatical about enforcing the food laws – they could turn the child completely off healthy eating.
5. Start the day off with a good and healthy breakfast and make sure that the child carries lunch to school. Take their suggestions about what they like occasionally but it should be a healthy and nutritious lunch as far as possible.
6. Stock up on healthy snacks. Having several small meals a day is healthier than having two or three large meals; so far as possible incorporate this into the family’s meal patterns.
7. Children are notoriously suspicious about any new food and if you try introducing something health it will be met with resistance. Make a rule that every new item must be tried at least once – the child may be surprised at what he or she may like.