So you’re making the effort to learn all you can about building a healthy eating style, what about your kids? Are they going back to school eating healthy and fit?
Bad eating habits usually begin in childhood, often without parents realizing the nutritional mistakes they’re making. Using cookies, snacks and sweets as rewards and treats; withholding ice cream and soft drinks as punishment for bad behavior; referring to vitamins and medicines as “sweets” to induce children to take them…the list goes on.
Pitfalls for parents
Here’s a typically scenario: Overheard in a supermarket aisle, a child in a whinny voice “Mummy I want Cheez doodles, I want Cheez doodles”. Mother replied “But I just bought Cheez doodles the other day! You and your brother will be the death of me with these doodles!”. She then adds 6 packets of Cheez doodles to her shopping basket.
Do you regularly cruise the snack aisle in your local supermarket? Cheez doodles, Cheese Balls, Pringles, potato crisps, biscuits – are these the kind of snacks your kids eat? Forget about Cookie Monster on Sesame Street, you’re creating your very own Snack Fiend!! Do you know that one small packet of doodles contains about a quarter of the total amount of fat your child should consume in one day?
Or does this seem more like your situation – your child refuses to eat fruits but loves juice? Juice is made from fruits and is healthy isn’t it? The fact is that fruit juice is okay when consumed in small quantities and is certainly a better choice than soft drinks.
However, there are two main problems with fruit juice:
a) Most “fruit juices” are less than 50% juice and mostly added sugar, water and flavors
b) Even “no sugar added” 100% natural juice contains a lot of fructose, the natural sugar found in fruits
Some children consume more than half of their daily calorie requirement in the form of juice! Juice, is mostly simple carbohydrates, without the benefits of the fiber necessary for good digestive health. Your child is much better off eating a small orange, pieces of pineapple or some other fruit, than drinking a glass of juice.
The simple mathematical solution
Providing healthy nutrition for your children can be daunting, frustrating and even confusing. Here is a very simple formula to help you remember what is best for your children as they return to school after this break.
5 – 2 – 1 – 0 Every Day!
5 servings of fruits & vegetables
2 hours or less of television, computer, tablet or smartphone screen time
1 hour or more of exercise or physical activity
0 sugary drinks, more water, low fat milk only when needed
Give it a try and begin to see the benefits within a few weeks – better health and fitness for your kids and confidence that you’re doing what’s best for them.