Every parent wants their child to grow up to be as healthy as possible. Sadly, rates of childhood obesity in this country have skyrocketed, increasing over 800% since 1982.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obese youths have a far more likely chance of developing heart disease and high cholesterol as they age. They are also most likely to develop prediabetes, sleep apnea, joint issues, and poor self-esteem.
Parents can help their kids develop healthy habits by following some of the following tips:
Give Them Choices
Loading your kids’ plate or lunchbox with healthy foods may not be the best way to get them excited to try new flavors. Instead, give your kids the choice of what they want to try for lunch or dinner. Do they want beets or Brussel sprouts? Blueberries or bananas? Rice pilaf or sweet potatoes? Kids love having choices, and you’ll love that they’re eating healthy!
Plant a Backyard Garden
If you REALLY want to get kids excited about eating more fruits and veggies, then have them grow their own. Caring for a garden not only encourages your kids to eat what they help to grow, but it also teaches them environmental responsibility. If you don’t have enough outdoor space for a garden, check out your local community to see if you can get involved with a community garden.
Teach Your Kids to Read Labels
So many of the foods on grocery store shelves would have you believe they are healthy, but if you read the label, you’ll see they have hidden sugars and trans fats. Even “healthy” foods like yogurt, granola bars, soups, and cereal may contain way too much sugar. Teach your kids to turn those cans and boxes around and read the labels to understand exactly what they are eating.
The bottom line is, the more fun you have and the more you involve your kids in decision making, the more apt they’ll be to try healthy foods and LIKE them, and grow up to be healthy and happy.