Childhood obesity is a striking problem in the developed world, and as parents we need to consider how we can keep our own children from adding to the ever-growing obesity statistics in Australia. Unfortunately, because there is more and more processed, ready-to-eat food available in stores, and because we have less time to devote to our children on a daily basis, this is often more difficult than people make it out to be. To help our readers come up with solutions, we’ve penned four excellent tips to keep your child active and eating healthy throughout the year.
Tip #1: Make physical activity fun
Parents are often so busy these days that they can’t help but leave their kids by the television or playing video games for hours at a time. The best thing we as parents can do is to get our kids interested in being outside. Find games that can get their creativity going, such as moving like different animals, dancing to music, or simply playing tag. Even a switch from stationary video games to active "full body gaming" with Wii Sports or Xbox Kinect is a step in the right direction for your children and you can get the whole family involved.
Tip #2: Have your kids cook with you
Your kids are always looking for ways to help you, so why not have them work with you in the kitchen? This is the ideal location to teach them about healthy eating, and even better: you can control what goes into their voracious little bellies. These don’t have to be boring meals—not by a long shot! You can even make healthy desserts together simply by using natural fruits and natural sugar substitutes like xylitol and stevia.
There are plenty of subscription services (as well as free internet cookbooks) that are made specifically with children in mind. Kids will not only enjoy the meals, but they will be able to help with them. ChopChop is one such subscription magazine, while Disney’s Family.com offers plenty of ideas for families while in the kitchen.
Tip #3: Keep soft drinks and fruit juices to a minimum
If you let them, a child will go through a litre of soft drink in minutes. They have no way to know how much sugar is coursing through their body (although you will be able to tell!) and thus no idea of how unhealthy those kinds of habits are. Try to turn soda into a special treat that is there for birthdays and holidays rather than every day. You don’t need to keep it out of your house entirely, but limiting its intake is a huge factor in combating childhood obesity. Our range of 1Cal soft drinks sweetened with Stevia is the perfect healthy alternative to sugar-filled soft drinks - they're also fantastic for older children who may experience social pressure to drink what their friends drink.
Tip #4: Plan out your next supermarket visit
Any parent that has had their child accompany them to a supermarket knows that getting them out without at least a few sugary goodies is a herculean task.
For younger children, turning your shopping list into a "treasure hunt" that your kids can help with is a fun way to avoid picking up items that aren't on the treasure list. As you go down your list, help your children to find and pick up each item. Let them cross it off the list too.
Trying to stick to the outer perimeter of the store may also help. It’s the centre isles that have all the processed, fatty and sugary goodies that kids are so quick to pick up on. By mapping out your trip to the market, you can keep the bad stuff out of your basket, and the good stuff in it.