The percentage of obese children has grown from a problem to an epidemic today. The America Academy of Pediatrics has given various reasons for this increase in the number of obese children. One issue is the fact that parents have less time than before and find it easier to provide children with convenience and fast food.
Children who are encouraged to eat junk food will rather have potato chips, french fries or deep-fried meat than a healthy alternative. This is often not helped by the poor state of school lunches. They contain processed foods and groceries with chemicals and additives similar to fast food restaurants.
A worse scenario is big soft drink companies advertising their unhealthy drinks all over America. Schools give them easy access to children because they provide funding for their athletic and recreational programs. Today, more franchise fast food and zero-nutrition fresh drinks are available to kids at school than ever before. This damages our children’s health 100%.
The ADA has acknowledged the fact that children do not eat enough of vegetables and fruits that prevent heart disease and help children maintain a healthy weight. Parents need to be aware of what their children are eating at school and should encourage them to make their own healthy lunches and snacks.
All the parents have to do is contact the school boards and inform them of this issue. Kids who do not participate in sports usually eat more and eating from the unhealthy school cafeteria menus is seriously detrimental to their growth. Menus at school lunch should carry fresh produce and baked meats and potatoes rather fried.
Second, parents should educate children on the benefits of vegetables, fruits, dairy products and whole grains. You should try to push these nutrients in small amounts as children first avoid large portions. The more parents involved, the better the situation for the children.
Involving children in choosing, preparing and packing their lunch is essential to developing good healthy eating habits. Let the children choose their favorite vegetables, dairy products and fruits and learn what they like most and what they cannot.
Usually, obese children enjoy lots of sweets and greasy fast food. The difficult task is to remove this eating pattern and stop them from eating unhealthy food permanently. Prepare healthy snacks so that they can be consumed throughout the day, keep them readily available and make sure sweets are consumed as a treat not a meal. Fruit snacks, cream cheese, hummus dip, whole wheat cereals and bread are excellent choices for children plagued by obesity.
Unhealthy eating patterns continue from generation to generation, so by developing healthy lunch ideas you are actually helping the health of your grandchildren and great grandchildren!