Fitness

Healthy eating starts at home

We chat to Allison Kelly, dietitian for the new Network Ten series Honey We're Killing The Kids, about obesity epidemic and keep your children healthy and fit. Do you think parents realise they're harming their kids by letting them eat junk food and sit around watching DVDs?
Parents are torn between the need for tough love and keeping calm in the household. Most know they shouldn't be giving their children certain foods, but the other side of the equation — saying "no" — has too many repercussions. So it's not until things get really bad that parents actually start to look at the situation with more realism. And usually, at that point, the children are already overweight. Are parents fighting a losing battle against junk-food ads?
They're in a very hard situation. People who market convenience foods go straight to the kids and let them do the marketing for them. So parents definitely need to be very strong — and that can often be too hard. Convenience foods are really yummy and kids want them. Are parents just too busy to make healthy meals?
Absolutely! The families on the TV show are typically very hardworking. They spend time away from their loved ones, either at work or traveling to and from their job. Parents are torn as they want to get ahead in their career and be able to provide for their family. That's not to say there aren't lots of people who are busy and very healthy. It can be done — it's just about learning how to go about it the right way. How can parents keep their children healthy?
It's important to provide some structure in the home and establish rules and routines, then combine this with nutrition and physical activity. With a structure in place, you'll find you have more time and can actually include healthy habits, such as a walk after school. Allison's top tips: Utilise your time
When you're cooking a meal, make the most of the time you spend in the kitchen. Cook enough so there are leftovers for lunch the next day. Cut up extra vegetables to leave in the fridge for snacks. Chop up some fruit for when the kids get home. Make plans
Planning is not glamorous, but it's essential. Put thought into the meals you'll eat during the week and make a shopping list, so you have everything on hand. It means you won't get home and think, "What am I going to feed the kids so they don't eat too many snacks?" Make a list of healthy meals. Limit your screen time
Turn off the TV and computer, and push your children out the door. Once you remove these distractions, your kids will need to find something else to do. So whether you go for a walk after school as a family, or they jump on the trampoline, play sport in the afternoons or meet up with the next-door neighbours' kids, make sure they're active. All children should be out playing and exploring, and developing their skills.

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