Is Junk Food eating your child? Here's how to stop it NOW. - Recipesupermart

Is Junk Food eating your child? Here’s how to stop it NOW.

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Is junk food eating your child?  Put a stop to it, now.

The childhood impulse to imitate is strong, so it’s important you act as a role model for your kids. It’s no good asking your child to eat fruit and vegetables while you gorge on potato chips and soda.

Children develop a natural preference for the foods they enjoy the most, so the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing. Of course, no matter how good your intentions, it’s always going to be difficult to convince your eight-year-old that an apple is as sweet a treat as a cookie. However, you can ensure that your children’s diet is as nutritious and wholesome as possible, even while allowing for some of their favourite treats.

Teaching your children about healthy eating is important so they have a good relationship with food. Children who eat too much of the wrong types of foods are at higher risk for health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. With all the ads for junk food on television and the prevalence of these foods, it can be hard to keep your child eating healthily. However, there are strategies you can employ to help you achieve this goal.

 

 

Keep Healthy Snacks Handy

Serve your child mainly healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables or whole-grain crackers and cheese. Keep healthy snacks available by placing them on low shelves in the fridge or in the cabinets so your children can reach them when hungry. Keep a bowl of fruit out so children can help themselves, since they are more likely to eat foods that are visible.

Don’t Have Junk Food at Home

If you don’t want your child to eat a particular food, keep it out of the house. She can’t eat foods that aren’t there. Make less healthy foods something you eat occasionally when you are away from home. This will limit the amount of junk food your child can eat.

Don’t Bargain

Don’t use junk food as a bargaining tool. Rewarding children with junk food or using it to bribe children to get them to eat healthier foods only makes this food more appealing and healthier foods less appealing, so choose non-food rewards. Children need to be able to choose how much they eat, as insisting they clean their plates can lead to overeating later in life, especially with the large portions common these days.

 

Don’t Ban Junk Food

While you probably don’t want your child to eat a lot of junk food, you shouldn’t ban it completely. This just makes it more attractive and more likely your child will overindulge when he gets an opportunity to eat these foods at a friend’s house, a birthday party or school. Teach moderation and permit your children to eat small amounts of these foods from time to time, perhaps allowing them to eat them at a friend’s house or a birthday party, but not at home.

Set Example

Children learn by watching what you do. If you don’t want your child to eat too much junk food, model healthy eating and avoid eating a lot of junk food yourself. Allow children to help pick out new, healthy foods for snacks.

Have regular family meals.

Knowing dinner is served at approximately the same time every night and that the entire family will be sitting down together is comforting and enhances appetite. Breakfast is another great time for a family meal, especially since kids who eat breakfast tend to do better in school.

 

Cook more meals at home.

Eating home cooked meals is healthier for the whole family and sets a great example for kids about the importance of food. Restaurant meals tend to have more fat, sugar, and salt. Save dining out for special occasions.

Get kids involved.

Children enjoy helping adults to shop for groceries, selecting what goes in their lunch box, and preparing dinner. It’s also a chance for you to teach them about the nutritional values of different foods, and (for older children) how to read food labels.

Make a variety of healthy snacks available instead of empty calorie snacks.

Keep plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice) around and easily accessible so kids become used to reaching for healthy snacks instead of empty calorie snacks like soda, chips, or cookies.

 

 

Limit portion sizes.

Don’t insist your child cleans the plate, and never use food as a reward or bribe.

How can I get my picky child to enjoy a wider variety of foods?

Picky eaters are going through a normal developmental stage, exerting control over their environment and expressing concern about trusting the unfamiliar. Many picky eaters also prefer a “separate compartmented plate,” where one type of food doesn’t touch another. Just as it takes numerous repetitions for advertising to convince an adult consumer to buy, it takes most children 8-10 presentations of a new food before they will openly accept it.

 

 

Rather than simply insist your child eat a new food, try the following:

Offer a new food only when your child is hungry and rested.

Present only one new food at a time.

Make it fun: present the food as a game, a play-filled experience. Or cut the food into unusual shapes.

Serve new foods with favorite foods to increase acceptance.

Eat the new food yourself; children love to imitate.

Have your child help to prepare foods. Often they will be more willing to try something when they helped to make it.

Limit beverages. Picky eaters often fill up on liquids instead.

Limit snacks to two per day.

Persuading children to eat more fruit and vegetables

Making mealtimes playful can mean healthier eating for your kids. Here are some fun, creative ways to add more fruit and vegetables to your child’s diet:

Top a bowl of whole grain cereal with a smiley face: banana slices for eyes, raisins for nose, peach or apple slice for mouth.

Create a food collage. Use broccoli florets for trees, carrots and celery for flowers, cauliflower for clouds, and a yellow squash for a sun. Then eat your masterpiece!

Make frozen fruit kabobs for kids using pineapple chunks, bananas, grapes, and berries.

Go food shopping with your children. Let them see all the different fruits and vegetables and have them pick out new ones to try.

Try fruit smoothies for a quick healthy breakfast or afternoon snack.

Add vegetables and fruits to baked goods – blueberry pancakes, zucchini bread, carrot muffins.

Add extra veggies to soups, stews, and sauces, grated or shredded to make them blend in.

Keep lots of fresh fruit and veggies washed and available as snacks. Apples, pears, bananas, grapes, figs, carrot and celery sticks are all easy to eat on the run. Add yogurt, nut butter, or tahini for extra protein.

 

Limit sugar and salt

One of the biggest challenges for parents is to limit the amount of sugar and salt in their children’s diets.

Limiting sugar

The American Heart Association recommends that sugar intake for children is limited to 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day. Cutting back on candy and cookies is only part of the solution. Large amounts of added sugar can also be hidden in foods such as bread, canned soups and vegetables, frozen dinners, ketchup, and fast food.

Don’t ban sweets entirely. Having a no sweets rule is an invitation for cravings and overindulging when given the chance.

Give recipes a makeover. Many recipes taste just as good with less sugar.

Avoid sugary drinks. One 12-oz soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar in it, more than three times the daily recommended limit for children! Try adding a splash of fruit juice to sparkling water instead.

Cut down on processed foods, such as white bread and cakes, which cause blood sugar to go up and down, and can leave kids tired and sapped of energy.

Create your own popsicles and frozen treats. Freeze 100% fruit juice in an ice-cube tray with plastic spoons as Popsicle handles. Or try freezing grapes, berries, banana pieces, or peach slices, then topping with a little chocolate sauce or whipped cream for an amazing treat.

 

If a child is…   They should eat less than…

1 to 3 years old

1,500 milligrams a day

 4 to 8 years old

1,900 milligrams a day

 9 to 13 years old

2,200 milligrams a day

14 to 18

2,300 milligrams a day

 

Avoid processed, packaged, restaurant, and fast food. Processed foods like canned soups or frozen dinners contain hidden sodium that quickly surpasses the recommended limit. Many fast food meals are also loaded with sodium.

Opt for fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables.

Cut back on salty snacks such as potato chips, nuts, and pretzels.

Choose low-salt or reduced-sodium products.

Eating becomes a social activity in this stage of life. Your kids probably spend more time in school than they do at home; eat meals at friends’ houses; and adopt eating habits from their peers. It can be difficult to ensure they are getting adequate nutrition when you are not around to monitor their choices, so try to maintain regular family mealtimes.

 

For kids aged 5-12, the key word is variety. Creative serving ideas will go a long way towards maintaining the healthy eating habits established in the first years of life.

Not only do family meals provide an opportunity to catch up on your kids’ daily lives, they also enable you to “teach by example.” Let your kids see you eating a wide variety of healthy foods while keeping your portions in check. Refrain from obsessive calorie counting, though, or commenting on your own weight, so that kids don’t adopt negative associations with food.

As children develop, they require the same healthy foods adults eat, along with more vitamins and minerals to support growing bodies. This means whole grains (whole wheat, oats, barley, rice, millet, quinoa); a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables; calcium for growing bones (milk, yogurt, or substitutes if lactose intolerant); and healthy proteins (fish, eggs, poultry, lean meat, nuts, and seeds).

 

Healthy fats are also important:

Monounsaturated fats, from plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts (like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans), and seeds (such as pumpkin, sesame).

Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines, or in unheated sunflower, corn, soybean, and flax-seed oils, and walnuts.

 

 

Kids, like the rest of us, should limit:

Trans fats, found in vegetable shortenings, some margarine  crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

This is growth spurt time: kids gain about 20% of adult height and 50% of adult weight during adolescence. Because growth and change is so rapid during this period, the requirements for all nutrients increase. This is especially true of calcium and iron.

Eating habits, however, are pretty well set by now, and if your child’s choices are less than ideal, it can be a challenging time for a course correction. The best way to make teen dietary changes is to present information about short-term consequences of a poor diet: appearance, athletic ability, energy, and enjoyment of life. These are more important to most teens than long-term health. For example, “Calcium will help you grow taller.”  “Iron will help you do better on tests and stay up later.”

Add physical activity to your child’s day, just as you would add fruit or veggies. To encourage physical activity, play with your kids – throw around a football; go cycling, skating, or swimming; take family walks and hikes; and help your kids find activities they enjoy by showing them different possibilities. The benefits of lifelong exercise are abundant and regular exercise can even help motivate your kids to make healthy food choices.

 

 

Instead of eliminating junk food entirely, which tends to increase cravings even more, try substituting some healthier alternatives.

 Kid-friendly junk food alternatives

Instead of…    

French fries

Ice cream

Fried chicken

Doughnuts or pastries

Chocolate-chip cookies

Potato chips

Try…

“Baked fries” grilled in the oven and salted lightly

Low-fat frozen yogurt; sorbet; fresh fruit smoothies

Baked or grilled chicken

Bagels; English muffins; home baked goods with less sugar/fat

Graham crackers, fig bars, vanilla wafers, fruit and caramel dip

Pretzels, unbuttered popcorn, baked potato chips, soy crisps

 

 

Eating out with kids: fast food and restaurant nutrition for children

It might be challenging to persuade your youngster to order a salad instead of a cheeseburger, but you can steer them towards healthier options. Some important tips to remember about fast food and restaurant dining for kids:

Avoid sodas – Kids should drink water or milk instead.

Avoid chicken nuggets – Unhealthy imposters of real chicken.

Skip the fries – Consider taking along a bag of mini carrots, grapes, or other fruits and vegetables to have instead. This will add vitamins and fiber to the meal.

Order the kid’s meal with some substitutions – Children often love the kid’s meal more for the fun box and toys than for the food. Ask to substitute healthier choices for the soda and the fries if possible.

Opt for chicken and vegetables or spaghetti with tomato sauce in a sit-down restaurant, rather than a big plate of macaroni and cheese.

 

At home,start doing this,

Start cooking.

Many people eat fast food or junk food because they’re always on the go and have no time to cook for themselves (it’s called fast food for a reason!). Even if you don’t have much time, try learning a few quick and easy recipes.

If you’re highly into junk food, perhaps trying to make your own burgers and French fries is a good idea. Generally, food you prepare at home is healthier than what you can find at a fast food restaurant.

Expand your culinary horizons.

Most people find junk food very tasty, but there are also lots of meals that are healthy and delicious at the same time. If you don’t want to cook, you can still try new dishes by going to different restaurants.

 

Know what junk food can get you into.

Unhealthy eating leads to obesity, and obesity leads to many health problems, for example cardiovascular issues. Not to mention the aesthetic issues.

Eating a lot of junk food is often associated with other lifestyle problems, like lack of physical activity, TV or Internet addiction, bulimia, sometimes even depression. Know if you have any of these problems, and treat them accordingly.

Stop buying junk food.

You can’t eat it as long as you don’t have it! Just don’t put that pack of chips into your shopping basket next time you go to the supermarket. Buy healthy things instead- fruits for example.

Resist.

For two weeks go without any type of junk food. You will eventually stop craving it. This will make you feel so much better. And help you live longer with your new healthy lifestyle.

 

  • Don’t all of a sudden start eating junk food after 2 weeks of resisting; you may get into unhealthy eating habits again.
  • Read the label, things that you never thought would be fattening would surprise you!
  • This can help you lose weight, too.
  • Try drinking lemon water in the mornings and whenever you feel like eating junk food. This speeds up the metabolism.
  • Plan meals ahead; it will make you less likely to pick up fast food and it means you can tailor your shopping list to fit. That way you know exactly what your buying.
  • Try avoiding going past junk food areas in supermarkets; it may tempt you to get into unhealthy eating habits again.

 

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