Children learn through imitation. The diet followed in the home, whether or not physical activity takes place and small routines in the home will all shape the habits of young children. Good habits are forged in childhood therefore, with small steps you can prevent obesity or solve the problem of your child gaining increasing weight.
The first question we should ask ourselves is if we are eating in the right way at home. And what about physical activity? Are we a good example for our children? By following these simple tips, our homes will become bastions of good health:
- Always plan your shopping list. Try not to do the grocery shopping when you are hungry, and if you have already spoken to a nutritionist, stick to the food items on the menu they have recommended.
- Look into different foods and constantly change what you are eating. Discover new varieties, recipes, dishes and textures for the less popular food groups. Start using traditional recipes with lentils, poultry, eggs, and particularly meals including vegetables.
- Let children and teenagers get involved. Encourage them to take part in the grocery shopping, the cooking itself and choosing the foods, how they are prepared and the recipes you use. Family activities reinforce good habits.
- Choose culinary techniques that require little added fat, such as grilling, steaming, boiling, stir frying, baking, en papillote, etc.
- Try not to overuse one single texture or way of preparing certain foods (avoid only having vegetables / pulses as soups or always having fish in batter).
- Use dressings and seasoning sparingly. Cook low-salt meals and use aromatic herbs and spices to boost flavors. Use olive oil for cooking and to dress salads.
- Remove fat from meats before cooking and take the skin off poultry.
- Always read the labels on packaged foods. Choose foods that have less fat, sugars and salt.
- Be selective with your food. Better to have fresh, in season and locally sourced food.
- Increase daily activities such as walking to school, going on walks or taking hikes routes together as a family. Reduce sedentary activities by allowing less TV, computer and video game time (no more than 1 hr/day for preschool children and no more than 2 hr/day for other children and teenagers) and keep TVs, consoles and computers out of their bedrooms.