Most people think that kids will get fit naturally because they play in the playground at school and spend time running around outside and will simply burn off the calories from the food they eat like that. It might have been like that in the past, but these days there a lot of children who are putting on weight when they are quite young so this obviously isn’t working any more. So what can parents do to help?
There are some simple solutions to helping your children get healthier and fitter without having to make huge changes to your lifestyle. The simplest way is to try and get fitter. There are plenty of clubs that children can go to these days that can help with their fitness levels. From football to ballet there is usually something to interest every child. If your child doesn’t like doing social activities like that, then they can do things with their family instead. A walk to the park is always good fun, and as they get older the children will be able to go on their own. Try to encourage them to play outside in the summer months as this will not only get them more active but will also help them make friends with other children in the area. If the whole family wants to get fitter then you can all work together at it, maybe by using a Wii fit or doing some exercise at home.
Healthier eating isn’t too difficult a change either. There are some very simple changes you can make to your diet which can make a huge difference to you child’s health. Firstly try to reduce the snacks in between meals. Children can easily fill up on sweet or salty snacks that are full of unhealthy fats, then they won’t want to eat their main meals which are usually healthier. When you are cooking try to reduce the amount of processed foods you buy as these often contain more sugar, salt and saturated fat than you would add if you were cooking yourself from scratch. Try to cook with your children so they have more enthusiasm for the meals which you have prepared for them and it will help them to be more likely to try new things.
Children shouldn’t be dieting in the same way as adults, they still need fats in their diets as well a good varied amount of protein, carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables. If you want to reduce their weight, or stop them gaining more then you will need to be careful not to reduce their food intake too much. It is much better to take out the sweets, cakes, puddings and biscuits from their diet than reduce the food they have in their main meals. A healthy main meal should contain a good amount of fresh vegetables (preferably some of them should be raw) served with some carbohydrate and protein. Proteins include nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, dairy products and meat. It is good to have a mix of these rather than just choosing meat every time. The carbohydrates should be wholemeal so that they fill up the child and don’t make them want to eat more and more as the calories are quickly used up.
Ps. This is a useful link for more information about health issues for kids