One thing that didn’t occur to us when we were expecting our first child was the possibility that we might have to battle childhood obesity. It is probably because at the time we were very active ourselves, and the kids naturally went along.
Things are a little different now. Not every family can be active. Many families have two working parents and some also have an elderly relative living at home and being tended. Prevention now needs to be a part of our lives.
Start in Pregnancy: Everything you eat, drink or take will have some effect on the unborn child. So will most of your activities. The child will know if you are walking or sleeping. They will dislike some of the food you eat. They will also become quite big if you overeat. This last could have an impact on the rest of the child’s life.
Get Age Related Nutrition Information: Talk to the pediatrician and if you need to, talk to a pediatric nutritionist. Children need a certain number of calories to grow properly. They also need a balanced diet. If your toddler gets into an “I’ll only eat this” stage (some do), find out about vitamin/mineral supplements that are age appropriate.
Read Labels: Ingredient and nutrition labels will tell you a lot about whether or not the product is good for your children. If it is high in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol and/or sugars it’s probably not something you’ll want your child to eat. If you can’t pronounce it, it may not be wise. If the word “hydrogenated” is in the ingredients list it’s not good for any family member.
Healthy Meal Plans: This is actually a lot easier now that we have the internet. Many websites offer menu planning and will give nutrition information along with the recipe. You can also look up individual foods, whether raw or packaged. Nutritiondata.com is one of the best sites for that purpose.
We can win this battle before it comes up but it will take work. As the children grow older it will also take cooperation, but it can be done.