Common Parent Food Blunders
By Emily Kennedy, Vitamin e Nutrition
The overweight epidemic in our country has reached epidemic proportions, and it’s not just an adult problem anymore. It is affecting our children, full force. Today’s kids are more overweight and unhealthy than at any other time in our history. This is a problem that we need to address immediately, and we need to be proactive about it. We need to offer them healthy weight loss solutions.
Certainly we can point the finger at the food industry with its overabundance of convenient, low-cost foods. We can blame school lunch programs, computers, video games, and friends, too. But what about ourselves? Ultimately, we (the parents) decide what our kids eat, especially when they are young.
The following are some top food blunders to avoid because they will not help your child build healthy eating habits:
SWEETENED JUICE DRINKS
Imagine opening up the cupboard, taking out a bag of sugar, and repeatedly spooning teaspoon after teaspoon into your 3- or 4-year-old’s mouth. Every time you give your child one of those fruit cocktail juice beverage boxes, that’s precisely what you’re doing. One 6 oz. carton contains five teaspoons of sugar, on average. Give water most of the time and only 100% juice drinks as a treat.
RESTAURANT KIDS MENUS
Chicken fingers, french fries and macaroni and cheese offer no nutritional value and are loaded with sodium, fat and refined carbohydrates. Restaurants are not in the business of protecting your kid’s health and the profit margin on french fries and chicken nuggets is huge. The next time you go out to eat with your kids, ask for vegetables on the side instead of french fries. Or better yet, don’t order anything for your kid, ask for a second plate and share your meal with them; The portions are certainly generous enough. Check out these healthy places to eat with your kids in Toronto.
GRANDPARENTS OR FRIENDS
Make sure that whenever your child is away from your presence, or visiting friends and relatives, that they know you do not approve of them feeding your kid junk food. They probably don’t mean any harm, but just want to your child to associate treats with being with them. It is perfectly acceptable to ask them to offer your child something more nutritious, like a piece of fruit or whole-grain crackers.
YOUR OWN EATING HABITS
If you’re really committed to feeding your child healthfully, you must lead by example. After all, they mimic everything you do. Above all else, this is the most important healthy eating lesson.