According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 5 children in the US have obesity. Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health issues, so it’s important to make changes as early as possible. Because September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to explore how you can encourage healthy eating habits for kids.
1. Serve Them Healthy Foods
Even if you’re in a hurry, be sure to serve your son or daughter healthy foods instead of those filled with tons of fat and sugar. Opt for low-fat or non-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, lean cuts of meat, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and veggies.
2. Discourage Eating While Watching TV or Doing Homework
Your child is more likely to overeat if they are eating dinner while watching their favorite television show or finishing their math homework. Therefore, make sure your child eats at the kitchen table and is not distracted by any other activities. They are more likely to control their portions if they solely focus on eating.
3. Make Water the Main Beverage Choice
Water is the ideal beverage for your child. Here’s why: It’s free of sugar and calories and can keep them fuller for longer. Try to save sodas and other sugary beverages for special occasions and provide them with a full water bottle as much as possible.
4. Pay Attention to Meals Outside of the Home
It’s likely that your son or daughter eats meals outside of the home often. Make sure their school lunch is healthy and encourage them to make healthy choices when they’re at a restaurant. Eating healthy outside of the home is just as important as eating healthy inside.
5. Set Family Goals
One of the best ways to create healthy eating habits for kids for the entire family to join in. Try to make healthy eating a priority for your entire family by setting goals you can all stick to. For instance, you may only eat dessert on the weekends or only eat pizza once a month on a Friday night.
6. Plan for Snacks
While your child may eat healthy during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, their snacking may get out of control. If you want to encourage healthy eating habits for kids, it’s a good idea to fill your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks like veggies and hummus, apple slices and peanut butter, and homemade popcorn. Chips, cookies, and other common snacks can hinder their healthy eating efforts.
Make an Appointment
The board-certified pediatricians and staff at Wake Forest Pediatrics are dedicated to providing quality care to patients in Wake Forest and Knightdale. Our comprehensive approach focuses on teamwork and open communication with patients and parents. If you have questions about helping your child form healthy eating habits, call our Wake Forest office at 919-556-4779 or our Knightdale office at 919-266-5059 to make an appointment.