Getting Kids to Eat Healthy – Fight Childhood Obesity
By Lisa Metzgar, PhD, Nutrition Tidbits –
Childhood obesity is an epidemic in this country
A client of mine told me a story about a child she had to operate on. This child was 7 years old and 100lbs. He had to have emergency surgery on his gallbladder (an organ that aids in the digestion of fats).
At 7 years old his gall bladder had stones due to his horrendous diet. At the post-operation consultation, the mother asked the doctor what can be done to avoid this in the future. The doctor started by asking about his diet and activity levels. The diet consisted of pizza and soda, that seemed to be all the mother could get him to eat. The activity level consisted of Nintendo.
This is a 7-year-old child! I don’t know about you, but my 8-year-old daughter doesn’t tell me what she will be eating every day. Of course, she will ask for pizza on occasion but for the most part…there is no negotiating. Dinner is made consciously by me with my family’s nutrition in mind.
I do believe in giving choices…this empowers a child but the choices are healthy choices. Treats are ok as well but in moderation and only after they have ingested healthy food. Trust me, if you feed your child only healthy food, they will eventually get hungry enough and eat it.
Here are a few tips to get kids to eat healthily:
Add one healthy food to a meal and have your child eat that first before the rest of the meal.
Give your child a choice of 2 or three healthy items to get them involved in making meal choices.
Have your child help make the meal, they will take pride in eating what they have prepared.
Get a cookbook for children (make sure it is a healthy one!)
Substitute healthy items unhealthy versions…for example, you can make your own pizza from fresh ingredients like whole wheat crust and fresh tomatoes.
Here are some healthy ideas to add to your child’s diet:
Fruit smoothies…try different combinations of fruit and make it fun! You can even freeze them for popsicles.
Make your own cookies using natural sweeteners like stevia or agave syrup (there are great recipes online)
Try different seasonings on vegetables to give them more flavor.
Make fun salads (you can add fruit, nuts, and a variety of vegetables)
Instead of juice, try making herbal ice tea.
Make drinking water fun by getting there own water bottle. My daughter likes poking a hole in the lid of a regular water and squirting it in her mouth…whatever gets the water down!
Pay attention to labels…try to buy snacks that have no high fructose corn syrup or trans fats.
With a little thought, education, and preparation…you can help your children have a strong foundation of good nutrition and health for a lifetime!
LisaMetzgar, PhD,she received her BA in Biology from UCSD, is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner, and received her Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition.
Lisa has taught body mind retreats in San Diego, Seattle, and Australia and currently has a practice in Reno, NV where she does nutrition counseling.Lisa's passion is to educate families about a healthy lifestyle.
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