My 2 And A Half Year Old Won T Eat How to Stop Childhood Obesity – Cook at Home

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How to Stop Childhood Obesity – Cook at Home

Two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and half of them are obese, a frightening statistic. Unfortunately, obesity doesn’t just affect adults, now children are getting involved. Already 33% of American children and adolescents are overweight or obese (defined as weighing at least 10% more than recommended for height and body type), and a new study shows that 20% of American four-year-olds already they are obese The long-term effects of this trend are dire and include a future of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, increased cancer and sleep apnea. Unless something is done now, our children are headed for an avoidable health crisis.

So what’s a parent to do? Besides cleaning up junk food and turning off the TV, there is one simple step parents can take to help their children avoid obesity and its side effects. Prepare meals at home. It’s no coincidence that the rate of obesity for both children and adults began its rise at the same time that we gave up the evening meal in favor of late-night fast food and visits to family restaurants. Not only are many of those dishes loaded with excess fat, salt and sugar, but the portions are huge and often lacking in nutritional value, especially if you order from the kids’ menu. Homemade meals, even home-made restaurant favorites, are healthier options. But preparing dinner at home doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. Tasty and nutritious food that the whole family will enjoy is usually prepared in 30 minutes or less. Follow the tips below to help your kids lose weight while keeping their palates happy. The bonus? These simple steps will help parents maintain or lose weight.

  • Portion control: Serve dishes from the kitchen instead of bringing the entire meal to the table. Also consider the child’s size as they should not be served adult-sized portions. For younger kids, 1/3 cup cooked vegetables and a 2-ounce hamburger (that’s half a quarter of a pound) are plenty. An older child’s serving should be ½ cup of cooked vegetables and a 3-ounce hamburger.
  • Reduce fat, salt and sugar – Even home-cooked meals sometimes include too much fat, salt and sugar. Eliminate salt when preparing dinner and add it judiciously at the table. Buy the one that wasn’t injected with saline, a salt solution. Use olive or canola oil for sautéing instead of butter or lard. Make your own burgers with lean ground beef and/or ground turkey. Read ingredient labels and keep sodium intake to 15% of the RDA and fat intake to 20% of the RDA.
  • Bring on the vegetables: Children who are exposed to a wide variety of vegetables as babies are more likely to happily eat their vegetables as they get older. However, a very demanding child calls for a creative parent. Soups, filled with otherwise undesirable ingredients like beans or cabbage, are a childhood favorite. Chopped carrots or peas can be added to homemade macaroni and cheese or other kid-friendly casseroles. Make your own nutritious pizza: layer a pizza crust with sauce and spinach and top it with a small amount of tasty cheese. Carrots, zucchini and other ingredients can be shredded or pureed and added to spaghetti sauce or meatloaf.
  • Appeal to the senses – Serve a variety of colors and textures on each plate. If something looks good, it’s more likely to be eaten! Stir eggs and a little cheese, wrap in a tortilla and serve with a fruit or green salad. Quick, easy and nutritious for kids and parents. And don’t forget the role of aroma. Preparing a dish that starts with sautéed garlic, onions, and peppers, or includes a spicy herb like rosemary, anise, or cloves, fills the house with a delicious smell that will make kids want to eat healthy, homemade food.
  • Let the kids help: Kids as young as three can help set the table while grown-ups can mix dry ingredients or wash fresh vegetables. Have them help plan the weekly menu, giving them a choice between two options, ie potatoes or rice, green beans or broccoli.
  • Teach and model good eating habits – Children who practice good eating habits are less likely to become overweight or obese adults. Turn off the TV during dinner. Eat together as a family. Studies show that children who sit and eat with their families do better in school, have better relationships with their peers, and most importantly, have a better relationship with their parents. Do not force a child of any age to clean the plate. Encourage children to try at least one bite of everything on the plate, but do not make them continue eating when they are no longer hungry. Model good eating habits by following these tips yourself.
  • Watch the empty calories: Americans now consume 25% of their calories from beverages such as soft drinks, coffee drinks, etc. That’s a lot of calories for little or no nutritional value. Offer children water, milk or 100% juice to drink with meals. Sodas, milkshakes and other sugary drinks should be limited to once a week or less. Energy drinks should never be given to children as their high sugar, caffeine and other stimulants can cause kidney and liver damage.
  • Choose good snacks: Keep tasty and healthy snacks on hand, such as bananas, child-sized tangerines, baby carrots, and (unsalted) rice cakes. Appetizers can also be prepared quickly at home. It only takes 10 minutes to mix up homemade muffins or quick breads. Store-bought baked goods are often full of unhealthy hydrogenated fats and include much more sugar than you would use at home.
  • Plan a menu: Plan your menu and prevent childhood obesity. Take half an hour each week to decide what meals you will serve. Not only will meal prep take much less time with a menu, but grocery shopping becomes a quicker task as well. Don’t know how to plan a menu? Use a simple cookbook that includes weekly menus, subscribe to an online menu service, or enlist the help of a nutrition/wellness coach.

Childhood obesity is a major public health problem in this country. Our children may be the first generation to have a lower life expectancy than their parents due to serious medical problems caused by a preventable disease: obesity. Thank goodness we know how to solve this health crisis; help our children to be more active, limit junk food and encourage healthy eating habits, cooking at home.

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