ActiveToronto promotes healthy and active living for all ages, especially kids. Obesity rates have skyrocketed in teens and children, and there is a more pressing need than ever to engage kids in healthy activities. Get them involved with healthy eating and fun physical activities.
How to get kids healthy:
– Plan meals – If thinking about a weekly menu is too daunting, start with two or three days at a time. A good dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be balanced: whole-grain bread, rice, or pasta; a fruit or a vegetable; and a protein source like lean meat, cheese, or beans.
– Don’t buy into marketing for kids – Kids don’t need frozen chicken nuggets, french fries, macaroni and cheese, and pizza to keep them happy. Highly processed foods like these are loaded with chemicals, synthetic fats, additives, artificial sweeteners, and food colourings.
– Make sure kids eat a good breakfast – It’s the most important meal of the day, and it should ideally be the largest meal of the day to get your child off on the right foot. After ten to twelve hours with no food it’s important to refuel the engines. If they don’t eat in the morning they’ll be tired and unable to concentrate in school before lunch. It’s essential that children jumpstart their metabolism in the morning so their bodies don’t enter starvation mode, which might later cause them to experience difficulty maintaining a healthy body weight.
– Get kids cooking – If your children become involved in choosing or preparing meals, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve created. Take them to the store, and let them choose produce for you. If they’re old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables and mix them into a salad.
– Enroll them in physical activities – Whether it’s a sport, recreational activity or just playing around, make sure that your kids are getting lots of physical exercise. Even better, share doing your physical fitness activities with them.
– Cut back on junk – Remember, you, not your kids, are in charge of the foods that enter the house. By having fewer junk foods around, you’ll force your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.
– Allow treats – Having less healthy foods occasionally keeps them from becoming forbidden, and thus even more appealing.
– Have fun – The more creative the meal is, the greater the variety of foods kids eat.
– Be a role model – If you’re constantly on a diet or have erratic eating habits, your children will grow up thinking that this sort of behavior is normal. Be honest with yourself about the kinds of food messages you’re sending.
– Adjust your attitude – Realize that what your kids eat over time is what matters. As long as you balance junk food with smart food choices and physical activity, your children will be fine.