Almost 1/3 of all children between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight or obese, according to government data. This is horrible, since we know that an overweight child is far more likely to become an overweight adult and that can lead to a whole number of chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease.
It can be hard to get your children to eat better, but there are some things every parent can do. These aren’t especially difficult, but they do require some effort. They will pay off, though. Remember that eating habits, both good and bad, developed in childhood are carried into adulthood.
Here are three things you can do to help your kids eat better:
Serve meals on smaller plates. A recent study found that 80 percent of first graders served themselves 90 calories more at lunch when using larger plates compared with those using smaller plates. When the meal included a food the kids really liked a lot, those with bigger plates took more than 100 calories more. That difference adds up over time.
Monitor what your kids watch on TV. A review of data collected on children 13 to 15 years old found that there was a clear association between the time spent watching TV and the child’s BMI, or body mass index. Those kids who spent more time watching TV had a higher BMI. This was not true of kids who spent time using a computer or playing video games, however. The study suggested that the real issue may be TV commercials, which often promote high calorie, nutritionally questionable snack foods.
Make sure kids get enough sleep. A recent sleep study is consistent with previous studies that found a relationship between insufficient sleep and higher obesity rates. Growing is hard work and it requires a lot of sleep time. Increasing the amount of sleep a child gets tends to decrease their BMI. Since most kids have to get up early for school or other activities, the best way to ensure more sleep is to set an earlier bedtime and stick to it.
Using these 3 tips will help your kids eat better and stay healthier. Try them and see what a difference they make for your family.
There are a lot more ideas for getting kids to eat healthier in our FREE ebook, Do You Wish Your Kids Ate Better? Check it out. It’s packed with tips for getting everyone in your family craving healthy foods.
Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
You might also want to read: Many Kids’ Meals Not So Healthy, Healthy Kids: Focus on Snacks, Introduce Kids to Growing Their Own Food