Get Off the Couch!!! to prevent childhood obesity
- Limit the amount of time spent playing video games, watching TV and using the Internet to two hours or less a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend television viewing for children age 2 or younger.
- Beware Beverages Cutting sugary drinks out of your child's diet (and your own) can help to significantly reduce the number of calories your child consumes every day. Sweetened drinks and fruit drinks offer nothing except sugar and calories. Water should be the main drink. Fruit juice, cordial and soft drinks should be left for occasional treats.
- Try not to let your child skip meals esp eat Breakfast - Kids and teens who skip breakfast are not only at risk for developing a weight problem, skipping this meal also leaves kids and teens tired and irritable during the day -- and hungry. And the hungrier they are, the more likely the kids are to reach for high-calorie foods (and lots of them) that aren't very good for them
- Family Dinner - When families eat together, they tend to eat healthier meals -- less fried foods and more vegetables.Eat at the table and turn off the TV. (parents responsibility)
- Healthy Snacking- Snacking itself isn't bad for us, as long as we're careful about the snacks we choose and how much we eat.Encourage more fruit (2 serves/day), vegetables (5 serves/day) and nutritious snacks
- Educate Your Kids - Inviting kids and teens to go grocery shopping with you or prepare meals by your side allows time for you to teach them about what a body needs and doesn't need.
- Focus on Health, Not on Weight - Instead of making food a battleground at mealtimes, let kids decide when they are hungry and full, and maybe most importantly, model your own healthy relationship with food and exercise.
- Offer healthy food choices, if unhealthy food choices are not kept in the house your child cannot ask for them
- Get Moving - Encourage active games, sports after school, playing in the park.
- Choose activities that you can do together, and if you cannot do this during the week, make plans to be active with your children on the weekends.
- Treats" should be given occasionally.
- Plan rewards not related to food eg. Buy coloured pencils, skipping rope, a new CD, toy, magazine, piece of clothing, visit a friend, movies, park, zoo or the pool.
- Limit takeaway food and high fat snacks, use low fat dairy products, modify recipes
- Use low fat cooking methods
- If your child is constantly "hungry" they may actually be bored. Find something for them to do rather than eat
- Be a Role Model – Kids look to parents and other adults for guidance. If we are eating badly, what kind of message does that send our kids? Show your kids proper nutrition by eating healthy yourself.
- We all want to live long healthy lives. Let’s start our children out at the beginning to develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
Mrs Shilpa Mittal Nutritionist and Diet Consultant Founder Shilpsnutrilife - Diet and lifestylemakeover