Simple ways to create healthy eating habits
Childhood obesity made the UK news this week. A report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health stated that 80% of obese children would remain obese into adulthood, risking ill health and early death.
Obesity, including childhood obesity, is a growing concern across the globe. The World Health Organisation estimates that the level of obesity across all ages has nearly tripled since 1975, with around 124 million children being classified as obese in 2016. Obesity is now the second most common cause of preventable death in Europe, with smoking coming top of the list.
At Kozi Kidz we firmly believe that eating should be enjoyable, whatever your age. So rather than turn food into a battleground with young children, we suggest these approaches to looking after our bodies and eating healthily:
Grow your own
Gardening with children is a great way to help them develop a healthy relationship with food. They will see where their food comes from and are more likely to be invested in eating something they’ve harvested! If you’re short on time and space, a few herbs and salad leaves in pots on a windowsill is an accessible way to grow something you can eat.
Change your ‘normal’ foods
It’s what we do every day that makes a difference – the odd ice cream isn’t going to hurt. See if you can switch some everyday foods for healthier options. For example, if you’ve got into the habit of having highly sugared or sweetened squashes and juices in the house, go for water instead. Rather than eat sweetened yogurts or puddings, serve natural yoghurt with some chopped fruit. Rather that sugary cereals, serve porridge or eggs for breakfast.
Cooking from scratch, whether it’s baking cakes, making dinner or getting breakfast ready means you’ve more control over the levels or salt, sugar and fat you’re eating. As with gardening, children are more likely to be interested in food they’ve had a hand in preparing. For some ideas on healthy snacks, meals and treats to make with your children, take a look here
Eat a rainbow
As long as it’s not via food colouring, eating a rainbow is a fun way to get a range of nutrients every day. See if everyone in your house can tick off at least green, red, orange and yellow through their fruit and vegetable choices everyday.
Use activities as treats, not food
Many of us associate food with rewards and having fun, whether it’s having a chocolate bar after a swimming trip, ice cream at the end of the school week or cakes and sweets in kids’ party bags. While it’s great to gather to share and enjoy food, try to break the association between unhealthy food and rewards, if you find you have one.
And this goes for the adults as much as the children! Rather than a glass of wine and some chocolate at the end of the day, think about another way you can unwind – maybe with a favourite magazine or a bath.
Here’s to a happy and healthy February!