Recently our middle daughter began crying in the dressing room of a department store as she tried on clothes. Just over the summer months she had grown, a lot. But in just those few minutes of looking in the mirror she decided, that since she now longer wore a size 10 in girls that she was fat. No matter what anyone said, she still walked out of the dressing room unhappy. She's not fat, but she is healthy and strong and just the right size for her age and shape. Unfortunately, there are an ever-growing number of children looking in the mirror and wondering if they are fat and thinking that nothing can be done about it. There are school and other programs, but maybe healthy begins at home and fighting childhood obesity should be a family affair.
Everything is better with breakfast. Begin the day with the most important meal of the day. Avoid sugary cereals and serve up something good to eat that's also a tasty treat.
Clean out those cupboards. It could be that making the most of your money and your food means getting rid of some unhealthy foods or snacks. This way no one, including mom and dad are tempted to indulge in them. No whine is worse than "But dad got some!"
Cut out the candy and the comfort foods. I know I do it, offer them something to eat to get them to behave, feel comforted or direct their attention somewhere else so I can get something done. It is not a good habit and it is one that the whole family probably should break.
Step up the sleeping. Is your child getting enough sleep at night? There are several recommendations for how much sleep a child needs based on age, but on the average it should be 8-12 hours a night. But stepping up the sleeping hours and making sure that your child is getting enough sleep they will have more energy throughout the day. This means more energy to play and no desire to eat more food to make up for the lack of sleep. Tuck them in and say good night to create sweet dreams of healthy bodies.
If you wash it they will come. Keep fruits and vegetable snacks out where the kids can easily reach. That goes for other snack foods too like yogurt. If it's right where they can see it, they will be more likely to eat it. Put those foods that you only want offered on a limited basis up on top shelves where it requires your effort to serve them.
Feed the family. Family meals can help with cooking, cleaning and portions. Avoid those too big portions at both restaurants and fast food drive thru's by eating at the dinner table. It also keeps the kids away from the TV.
Tone down the tube time: Whether it is a computer screen or television, toning down on the tube time gives more time for toning up your muscles. It doesn't have to be all exercise, it can be play too and it can even be chores. It doesn't matter what it is as long as it gets everyone moving.
It's not just a matter of weighing in on the weight of our children, but without a fight towards fitness our children can find themselves growing up with a number of health risks and illnesses like juvenile diabetes, asthma, depression, low - self-esteem, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It is not easy and no parent is perfect at making these things happen, but what is important is that we try. Health can begin at home.
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