Keep your kids healthy
Keep kids healthy with these activities and mealtime ideas.
Dr Tim Lobstein, director of the Childhood Obesity Programme at the International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) advises parents not to get hung up on fatness and weight, but to look for signs of health and ill health in children.
A healthy child is active and eats a wide variety of foods. They don’t crave sweet food all the time and are happy to drink water or plain milk. They like getting out and playing around and cycling. But children take a lot of their cues from their parents, so parents need the time, motivation and resources to practise healthy behaviour.
- Get the day off to a good start and prioritise breakfast
- Coordinate your child’s meals, snacks and outings properly. Rather give your child a healthy lunch at home before going out where healthy options might be scarce
- Pack healthy snacks for outings - fresh fruit, water and whole grain snacks
- Vary your meal plans to prevent boredom.
- Be fun and innovative. Cut fruit into small pieces, arrange fruits into funny faces on a plate, make fruit smoothies or a fruit salad. For fussy eaters, sneak veggies and lentils into lasagne, soups, stews and pasta/rice dishes.
- This could be playing with a ball outside, taking your child out on his tricycle, skipping or getting your toddler to help you in the garden
- Encourage toddlers to help you with chores and assign older children tasks around the house.
Make meal times special
- Switch off the TV
- Get toddlers helping with laying the table, washing vegetables and tidying up
Sit at the table together
- Make meal times a relaxing family activity.
It’s harder to lose weight and break bad habits than it is to encourage good ones from the start. A fat child is often teased, develops low self-esteem and has health problems. She becomes unhappy and often isolated. No one wants this for their child, so take action in the small but meaningful ways today. Give your baby a good start today for a longer and healthier life later.
International Association for the Study of Obesity, www.iaso.org
South African Society of Obesity and Metabolism, www.sasom.co.za