A guest post by Carol Cottrill, C.N.C.
Childhood obesity is on the rise. The Office of the Surgeon General says that the number of overweight teens has nearly tripled in the past 2 decades. And that extra weight comes with some serious consequences, like an increase in Type 2 diabetes in children, and high blood pressure. Is there anything we can do to reverse the destructive course we currently find ourselves on?
Parents can cultivate healthy values towards food, but it begins by setting a good example at home. I have compiled a list of nutrition tips for parents to implement that will set your children on the right path from an early age.Top 10 Nutrition Tips for Parents
● Set a positive example—your children learn from you. Shop together, try new foods and recipes together, and above all else, eat together.
● Offer a variety of foods, and allow your children to develop a taste for new and different foods.
● Don’t insist that children finish all the food on their plate. Let your child develop internal cues in determining fullness—to eat when hungry and to stop when full. Don’t praise a clean plate.
● Limit starchy snacks in-between meals that lead to calorie overload and disinterest in real food. Aim for 1-2 wholesome snacks per day, spaced out 2 hours or more before a meal.
● Balance snacks to include a protein and a starch. For example, add peanut butter to a whole grain cracker to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
● Create a relaxing atmosphere for meal times. Turn off the television and the cell phones. Promote family conversation, and do not rush. Teach your children to respect the sanctity of eating together.
● Don’t use food as a reward. Instead, show your love with attention and kind words.
● Get your children to bed on time. Missing out on sleep disrupts your child’s hormonal balance, increasing the hormones that make them hungry while decreasing the hormones that make them feel full.
● Keep your kids moving…especially away from the television and computer screen. The simple act of natural outdoor play is all the exercise a young child should need, and it encourages healthy, real-world relationships.
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