Kid's Health information
Statistics from National Health & Medical Research Council show that 25% of adults are overweight or obese and 1 in 5 children are also overweight or obese. Both these figures are on the rise.
Obesity in childhood constitutes a risk factor for a range of health problems:
Health experts recommend children consume nutritious foods for proper growth and development.
Set up healthy habits from the start
Parents should offer fresh foods with fewer preservatives and low in additives and refined sugars. It is also important to watch the fat levels.
READ FOOD LABELS!!: Aim for Fat 10g/100grams, sugars 15g/100grams, high fibre, low salt (sodium)
It is important to find the balance of healthy eating and physical activity.
Some tips for mums and dads:
Enjoy a wide variety of foods – 5 serves vegetables, 2 serves fruit try and choose different colours for different vitamins & minerals
Never skip breakfast! Its true that children perform better at school if they have started the day with a healthy, high fibre breakfast such as weetbix, low fat milk, fruit and wholemeal or multi grain toast
Watch portion sizes – very important to serve food in the recommended quantities: ½ plate vegetables, ¼ plate Meat/Chicken/Fish, ¼ plate rice, pasta or potato. Choose smaller plates, bowls
Get children involved in healthy meal preparations and planning meals and healthy desserts. Get them to plan a ‘menu for the day’. They will love the challenge
Have set meal times and only allow healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables
Try not to purchase unnecessary snacks bars, including nut bars and dried fruit/muesli bars, these often contain too many calories.
Limit snack foods, especially biscuits, chips, chocolates, lollies. Include fresh fruits and vegetables. Try making fruit kebabs, vegetables boats and healthy dips such as yoghurt, light cream cheese spread (philli light)
No juice, even freshly squeezed or “no added sugar” varieties should be offered. These contain a lot of natural sugars which can contribute to weight gain. Soft drinks are also considered a big “no, no” should not be offered unless on a special occasion. Low fat milk and water should be the only drinks offered.
Limit take-away to once/month. If you are a family relying on take away, choose healthy sandwich wraps, small kebabs (no hommus or cheese please!), have water as part of the meal deal and choose salad instead of fries. Avoid anything deep fried. Have fruit or yoghurt as your dessert.
Eat slowly; allow your hunger signal to turn off before too much food is consumed. Never force children to finish their meals if they are full. Kids will never starve themselves!
Dessert is not a mandatory part of the menu
Exercise; be actively involved in sports, swimming, tennis, soccer, football or dancing. Join a gym if you’re 13 years or older.
2 pieces of fruit tip: fresh = better than tinned or dried fruit
e.g. 15 grapes and 2 plums or 1 apple and 1 nectarine
Rice crackers – limit to 6 or Sakata biscuits (packet) this is better than chips
Raisin toast – 1 slice
Mini fruit homemade muffin
Frozen low fat yoghurt
1 x Sandwich with wholemeal or wholegrain bread/wrap
With salad m/c/f or vegemite or light cream cheeselight sliced cheese/tomato/lettuce or light jam/margarine/labni (homemade with skim milk)
Add a favorite vegetable e.g carrot/cucumber/tomato/celery
Water or diet cordial
Try to avoid left overs and limit canteen treats to once/week or even once/fortnight. Don’t allow your children to purchase canteen food or to assume its a normal thing.
Ice blocks have 1 tablespoon of sugar per serve which would take 30 minutes of money to burn off, soft drinks and juices also have a significant amount of sugar
If you are frustrated the fruit and veg comes home, just offer it for afternoon tea instead of cake or biscuits.
This information has been brought to you by Hanan Saleh (APD,AN) Accredited Practising Dietitian Consultant Paediatric/Adult specialist in weight management
As seen on SBS TV series “Food Investigators”
Her website: www.thefooddoctor.com.au
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Disclaimer: Article on our website are for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor to make sure this information is right for your child.