Whether you’re 30 or 90, there’s a good chance you have kids in your family. So, who are the kids in your life? Whether you have grandkids, your own kids, or nieces and nephews, my guess is you would do anything for them. All you really care about is their health and happiness. So, what are you doing for your kid’s health from a nutritional stand point?
If you’re like a lot of grandparents, you like to shower your grandkids with homemade cookies and special treats. I remember my grandma always had a full candy drawer when we went to visit, and she always had lots of pies prepared for dessert. My favorite was banana cream. Grandmas (and mothers) often show their love through food. It’s a wonderful thing, but what if it’s actually hurting more than helping?
I’m not suggesting that you never give the kids you love so dearly a special treat. But, I know a lot of grandparents who are playing a very pivotal role in the lives of their grandkids. If you spend a lot of time caring for them, you have the opportunity to create healthy habits that can last a lifetime. You have the power to influence them in a healthy manner. What an awesome gift!
WILL OUR CHILDREN SURVIVE?
Here’s a sobering fact: for the first time in history, children may not survive their parents because of overeating disorders. It has been suggested that at the same time baby boomers are experiencing their first heart attack, around the age of 64, their children will be having their first heart attacks too. Heart attack is directly related to being overweight and being overweight most often comes from … you got it, unhealthy junk food!
More children than ever are overweight and even obese, with numbers reaching epidemic proportions. Globally, 22 million of the world’s children under five years of age are overweight or obese. Add to this the number of fat-related illnesses becoming more prevalent, and it’s clear that our kids face enormous health risks. Poor nutritional habits lead to illnesses including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
On the other hand, not all unhealthy eating practices in kids involve overeating. Many teenage girls feel the need to be “skinny,” and they take drastic measures to make it happen. One study found that more than 50 percent of teenage girls think they should be on a diet. And, 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia – or 1 in every 100 young women between the ages of 10 and 20 are starving themselves. Don’t be confused, though, these eating behaviors can be seen in young men too. Anorexia and other unhealthy eating habits are not gender specific.
HOW TO CREATE A HEALTHIER ATTITUDE TOWARDS FOOD IN YOUR KIDS
All of the facts above are not meant to scare you, but they are meant to show the importance of creating a healthy lifestyle for your kids at an early age. If you’ve ever struggled with your own weight or body image, wouldn’t you do anything to prevent that from happening in your loved ones? Here are some tips on how you can create a healthier attitude towards food in your kids and grandkids.
- Set structured meal times. If you set firm meal and snack times, then the goal is to stay with these times, within reason, over the long term.
- Keep healthy snack foods visible and within reach. Your kids are more likely to grab what’s in the front of the cupboard or fridge, so make sure those options are healthy.
- Offer varied choices of healthy foods. Allow your children to decide what they want to eat , but make the offerings healthy and nutritious. Eliminate junk right at the grocery store.
- Tell your children their bodies are terrific and healthy. That doesn’t mean you have to lie. Find their best features and flatter them. Teach them to be strong within themselves.
- Teach your children that young bodies are constantly growing and developing and that change is normal. Stress that all bodies are different and there is beauty in each difference.
- Use scales once a week at most. No one needs to weigh themself everyday.
- Choose your battles. Say yes occasionally to unhealthy treats. Grandparents, did you hear that…..occasionally! A treat means an indulgence eaten once in a while, not every day.
- Place a heavy emphasis on physical activity, including unstructured play. Make it a family activity and have fun playing with your kids and grandkids. They’ll keep you young!
- Take your children grocery shopping. Teach them how to make healthy choices and let them help you fill your cart with nutritious foods.
- Set the example yourself, every day. Your kids automatically look to you for guidance, and they trust that you will lead them in the right direction….this includes your food choices.
Let’s build healthy habits in our families now and watch our young ones grow into beautiful adults!
Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!