We all want to give our kids what we never had…maybe it’s nice clothes, travel sports, or vacations. The problem with always wanting to keep our children happy is that it sometimes comes at the cost of their own health.
Did you realize that 1 out of 3 children are overweight or obese? Parents have a hard time controlling what their children eat and how much physical activity they get every day.
How Does Extra Weight Effect Your Child’s Health?
Simply put, if your child is over the recommended weight for their age and height, they face the same health issues as any overweight adult. Meaning, they are at a higher risk of the following;
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Liver Problems
- Menstrual Problems
- Troubling Sleeping
- Future struggle with food, fitness, and weight regulation
How Do You Know If Your Child Is Overweight?
Click here to calculate your child’s BMI, (Body Mass Index), to see where your child falls on the weight charts. (Note: Weight for this calculator is based on kilograms so you’ll need to convert lbs to kg. )
What Can You Do If Your Child Is Overweight?
First, please keep in mind that this is a sensitive issue for most people. As a loving and concerned parent, it can be easy to accidentally say or do the opposite of what will be helpful for your child.
One of the best things you can do is to stop buying any junk food. You could be more drastic and throw every unhealthy item out of the pantry or you could help your child, (secretly), wean off of it. Sugar can be a strong addiction and you might notice your child having sugar withdrawals, (this is a real thing), they might become grouchy, depressed, or angry that you’re taking their favorite foods away.
Keep in mind the health risks listed above. If you don’t help your child make these changes, it’s likely they’ll be damaging their health well into adulthood. Regardless of how they react to new foods and more activity, stick to your guns!
Healthy Changes For A Healthier Child
FOODS: The healthiest foods are those that are fresh and don’t come out of a package. (Think meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, and seeds).
*Meals should include protein, carbs, and a healthy fat.* (Aim for a palm-sized protein, fist sized carb, and thumb print size fat).
- Protein – Lean meats like chicken, fish, and lean beef, eggs, mozzarella string cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, low-sugar yogurt, beans, hummus, nuts, and seeds are all great sources.
- Carbohydrates – Fruits, green and starch vegetables, brown rice, oatmeal (with no added sugar), whole wheat/grain bread/pasta/tortillas, etc.
- Fats – Olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, fats from nuts and avocados. (The health of butter has been debatable but more natural, grass-fed kinds such as the Kerrygold brand and Ghee are thought to be the healthiest to ingest).
Kids Meal/Snack Ideas:
Breakfast – 1/2 cup of oatmeal made with 1/2 cup of blueberries and low-fat milk. (or coconut, almond milk etc.) On the side: 1 boiled or scrambled egg, if needed.
Snack – 1/2 cup of baby carrots with a single serving of hummus
Lunch – 2 slices of whole grain bread with tuna (or chicken) salad and a slice of low-fat cheese. (Tuna salad made with low fat mayonnaise, boiled eggs, mustard, minced celery, minced onions, salt, and pepper). Side of mixed raw veggies with low-fat ranch for dipping.
Snack – 1 small apple and a handful of nuts
Dinner – Palm sized amount of salmon, fist sized amount of steamed broccoli tossed in butter or coconut oil, and fist sized amount of roasted red potatoes.
This might be the hardest change for most parents to implement. No parent wants to hear a whiny child complain about being bored but watching too much TV, playing incessantly on devices, and sitting around all day is detrimental for anyone.
Recommended Screen Time: 1 – 2 Hours MAX per day
*I have an 11 year old daughter that is given 2 hours of screen time per day during summer days and a 1 hour max on school weekdays – We keep up with this by creating Screen time cards – she uses her phone timer to time her screen time use, this includes all devices like her phone, and then uses a hole punch to punch out her time in 30 minute increments. (This makes it more fun for her and easy for me to monitor). We also use time punch cards such as this to make sure she reads for 1 hour each day.*
I encourage parents to make sure their child gets 1 to 2 hours of physical activity every day. This can include things like;
- Playing outside by themselves or with friends (games like tag, jumping on the trampoline, jump rope, sports like volley or basketball, etc.) Make sure they have some options.
- Playing inside – learning dances on YouTube (I won’t count that for screen time), doing workout/fitness/dance videos, building forts, cleaning their room/the house, playing with the dog, etc.
- Taking a walk outside. (Even better if they do this with you!)
- Inside games that are more physical such as Twister.
As you can see, moving more and eating well can be fun and simple for kids. The more you get them involved in the kitchen, being active with you or other family members/friends, and the more non-screen activity options you lay out for them, the easier this will be!
Cheers to healthier, happier, and more productive kids!
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