Today’s guest post is by one of my favorite bloggers Kalley C. She is so inspiring to me with her posts and insights make sure you check out her blog Blogging while Nursing and make sure you follow her on twitter @kalleyc. Keeping with the theme of the month Kalley C has written a great piece on how to lay the foundation for healthy children.
A few years ago, a friend of mine was telling me about her kid sister who was overweight with cholesterol problems. Her sister was 11 years old.
The little girl was eating everything that her parents made, and ate what was in the house. My friend also said that her sister was frustrated because it seemed like nothing was working.
Here is the advice that I gave my friend, that I wish someone gave to my family when I was younger and very overweight:
- Family must be a safe haven.
You may not like to see a child who is overweight in your family, but the worst things you can do is throw out insults.
Every mean word you say is driving a wedge in the relationship.
If that child cannot come to their family and talk about what’s really bothering them, and share how they feel, then who or what do you think they’ll turn to
2. You must lead by example.
In order to seek the change in your child’s eating behavior, you must give your child the tools to make those changes long lasting.
That would mean that you too will have to make that change with them. Let them know that they are not on this road alone, and you’re willing to go through with it them.
If possible, get the whole family on board–now that’s support
3. Talk about nutrition and energy (calories).
Talk about what energy is. Talk about instant energy vs. long term energy. Talk about how the type of foods would make them feel after they consume them.
Just like we had to learn our ABC’s and 123’s, learning about nutrition is something that every child should know in the long run, and every parent should think about teaching.
4. Read Labels
This not only goes hand in hand with nutrition understanding but it also gives a wealth of information about portion size. You can do an exercise by having the child take up X food they think it’s a portion and compare it to the portion that is on the label.
You’ll be surprised at the difference.
5. Get them involved with meals
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand trying to follow someone else’s menu plan. Especially if it’s not food that I’m used to eating, and not sure if it’s good.
But, if that child was involved in the menu plan or even picking some dishes that they think looks tasty, they will see that getting healthy does not have to be a boring event.
I would suggest looking up recipes online or maybe going to a book store and picking out a book that both of you like.
Don’t forget to read the ingredients and nutrition information if it has it.
6. Get Moving
One way to increase our energy out is to get moving. Go for a walk with them. Okay, who am I kidding, these days, kids like TV.
I say get a workout game that tracks their progress. It can be fun, and gets them moving.
Personally, I hate to work out, but I love Wii Fit. To me it doesn’t even feel like I’m working out. My daughter loves watching me work out, and even joins in the fun.
7. Never Use the word D-I-E-T!
I hate that word–really I do. It always means temporary changes, nothing long term. It’s also filled with the expectation that things will be excluded or denied to you.
It’s going to be a lifestyle change, that means you don’t exclude if you don’t want to. If they are craving chocolate ice-cream, I don’t see anything wrong with giving it to them.
They will (and you will) have to learn how to incorporate these things within their menu plan. If you don’t, when they do lose weight, they will end up gaining it all back.
One lesson that they can take away from it, is that it’s okay to have it, just the right portion size and in moderation.
8. Consider keeping a Food Diary
Be it online, on a phone, pen or paper; you won’t know how much you ate, unless you look at it.
At the end of the day, they can see if they ate balanced meals. This works well if you plan menus. You can plan snacks in the menu plan and keep track of how much energy they are taking in, you can also keep track of their workouts.
There you have it folks, everything I wish someone told my family years ago.
Making a lifestyle change for kids and your family doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Small steps and small changes makes a big difference down the line.