National Childhood Obesity Week takes place in July. This week is to help shed light on an increasing problem in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects roughly 14 million children and adolescents.
While some look to the government to enact legislation to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic in this country, there is much we can do in our own homes to teach children proper nutrition.
Education is Power
Our children are far more likely to eat the right kinds of foods if we teach them as early as possible about proper nutrition. Here are some tips on setting your kids on the right nutritional path:
Have Them Get Picky About Produce
Get your kids involved at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Teach them how to pick out ripe, fresh produce. If you aren’t sure how to do it, then you can learn together!
Get Them Involved in the Planning
Ask your children to help you plan a meal. You might ask which vegetables they would prefer for a side dish, or which veggies you should include in your salad or tacos. Maybe they can be in charge of picking out which fruit you will enjoy for dessert.
Kids love colors, and luckily the healthiest foods on the planet are colorful. You can ask them which color bell peppers you should use for dinner or if they would prefer green or purple cabbage in the salad.
Your Taste Tester
Kids that are exposed to a variety of foods and flavors when they are young have a better chance of eating healthy meals as adults. Get your kids involved when you are cooking. Have them be your personal taste tester letting you know if something is yummy or needs a bit more salt.
While it may seem easier to not have your kids involved in the shopping or preparing of food, know that making the effort now can have a profound impact on their choices as adults, and this could lead to better health outcomes.
Learn more fun ideas on how to get your kids learning about good nutrition.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW