Children today are more overweight than ever before, but it's never too late to help your kids live a healthier lifestyle.
A few simple lifestyle changes can have your family feeling and looking better than ever before.
Everyday food: Try not to label foods as 'good' and 'bad' as this may lead to feelings of guilt when eating. Rather, introduce the concept of 'everyday', 'sometimes' and 'occasional' foods. Kids should be able to enjoy eating all foods, and learn to appreciate the role of different foods and how much they should eat. Keep mostly 'everyday' foods in the house to avoid arguments.
Water babies: Encourage water as a beverage of choice for everyone in the family. Cordials, soft drinks and even juices are high in kilojoules and should be considered an 'occasional' treat.
Make dinner fun: Limit takeaway foods, instead preparing fun, takeaway-style foods at home. Try healthy pizzas made with wholemeal Lebanese bread or home-made burgers with oven baked home-made potato wedges.
Always eat breakfast: It is important to encourage your family to eat breakfast every day.
Family dinners: Eat your meals together as a family as often as you can. If eating together every night is difficult due to work and school commitments then set aside a few nights per week that are dedicated 'family nights'.
Turn off the TV: Eat meals at the table, not in front of the television. People will usually be unaware of what or how much they are eating if they are distracted.
Healthy snacks: Have plenty of fruit and vegetables available for meals and snacks. Try keeping cut fruit and vegetable sticks in the refrigerator for a quick and easy snack on the go.
Diet dairy: Reduced fat dairy foods and alternatives are suitable for everyone in the family over the age of two.
No force-feeding: Don't force children to eat everything on their plate if they really are not hungry. However, don't offer a less healthy alternative just to get them to eat something. They will eat again when they are hungry. You don't want them to lose their natural ability to detect hunger and fullness.
Technology free-zones: Avoid keeping computers and televisions in kids' bedrooms, and have rules limiting their usage.
Get moving: Go for walks and enjoy other forms of physical activity as a family. Encourage playtime outside and participation in sports that interest your children. Help out with sporting teams to show your kids you support them in these activities.
Gifts that keep on giving: Buy kids Christmas and birthday gifts that encourage physical activity such as totem tennis sets, cricket sets, bikes, soccer balls and Frisbees.
This information is provided by the Sanitarium Nutrition Service.
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