submitted by Solomon Brenner, author of “Black Belt Parenting” and Master Instructor for Action Karate
Childhood obesity is becoming an increasing problem across the country. While we can blame societal changes, advertising, and even schools for our children’s weight problems, when it comes down to it the real changes have to be made in the home. You want to establish a lifetime of healthy habits for your whole family by creating a healthy eating and active environment.
When trying to improve your child’s eating habits, put the whole family on the same healthy diet, one that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains. This will keep your child from feeling singled out. By keeping the “bad” foods out of the house entirely, it will also be easier for them to avoid eating too much unhealthy food.
Make exercise a family event, too. Making time for the whole family to participate in regular physical activity, like bike riding or swimming, will make getting healthy more fun and also allow for more time together. You can even organize special family outings once in a while, like canoeing or skiing, that keep the family active.
Encourage your child to help you prepare the food together. This will give him a sense of independence and will make him feel better about eating healthy. Learning about healthy foods and recipes can increase your child’s enthusiasm for their new eating habits.
Schedule regular meal times. This will help keep your child from grazing during the day and will also ensure that you supervise what kinds of foods he is eating, so that you know your child is getting the vitamins and nutrients he needs. Not only that, but scheduling meals also allows more time together to talk about your days and spend quality time with your family. Having a regular snack time with low-calorie and nutritious snacks like fruit or yogurt can keep your child from feeling hungry between meals.