Top 10 Healthy Eating Tips for Children with Tips, Part I
By Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA
Shotokan Karate Leadership School schools are concerned about the reports about childhood obesity becoming rampant in America. This is not an experience they wish on any child. Obesity is a scary thing. Preventing obesity can be easy and empowering for children. Parents and caregivers need to allow children to have control over their bodies. Kids need to learn to take control of their real needs and treat their bodies with love and respect, the sort of traditional life skills taught at martial arts found at Shotokan Karate Leadership School.
Nutrition is at least as important as exercise. People who attempt to lose weight are often totally confused about the role of nutrition. Some think that if they work out, they can eat whatever they want. Not true! Worse, contestants on The Biggest Loser often came in thinking “they’ll work out a lot and won’t eat at all,” says Bob Harper, a trainer on the popular TV show. This is not a good strategy! You need to hit the sweet spot: fueling your body enough with healthy foods to give you energy to get through the day (and your exercise routine), but not so much that you take in more than you’re burning off.
- Encourage your child to eat regular meals and snacks: Offer three meals and one to three snacks each day and serve your child a wide variety of healthy foods. Karate Kids and Adults Health Tip: Think ahead and pack several healthy snacks for “on the go” so that children have easy access to healthy options.
- Serve plenty of fruits and vegetables: Fruits and veggies are packed with nutrients yet contain few calories. Be sure to include at least one fruit and/or vegetable at each meal and snack. Karate Kids and Adults Health Tip: Remember, a food needs to be introduced up to 10 times before a child’s taste buds can enjoy it. Children love to help in the kitchen—allow them to help make smoothies or rinse/prepare vegetables.
- Focus on high-fiber whole grains: Whole grain, fiber-rich breads, cereals, pastas, rice, and low-fat crackers provide more vitamins, minerals and fiber to help meet your child’s nutritional needs. Karate Kids and Adults Health Tip: Remember that parents lead by example. Most of the time, children eat what we do.
- Choose low-fat and non-fat dairy products: Low-fat and nonfat milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream and ice cream contain less fat and cholesterol than regular-fat versions. If your child eats cheese regularly, consider purchasing reduced-fat varieties. (Keep in mind that children between one and two years of age need to consume whole milk.) Karate Kids and Adults Health Tip: Can’t get your child to drink milk? Try blending 1⁄2 cup frozen fruit into 1 cup low-fat milk. Don’t forget to serve with a straw.
- Limit sweetened beverages: Juice, soda, lemonade, and fruit drinks contain excess sugar and calories, but few nutrients—sometimes, none at all. Serve these drinks only on occasion and serve no more than four to eight ounces—you can dilute these with water. Plain water is the best choice. Consider going green by purchasing reusable water bottles; let your child pick one in their favorite color. Karate Kids and Adults Health Tip: Add fruit to your ice cube trays, blueberries work great!
Come back for Part II.
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