Watch Executive Clinical Director for Wellspring Academy, Eliza Kingsford, MA, LPC, explain how to institute simple changes in your home and how to motivate your child to stick with the program.
The fight against obesity is a life-long battle, but it can start today with you. The below steps can help your child break bad habits and begin a healthy lifestyle.
Get Them Moving
Have your child wear a pedometer and get walking. Girls need at least 12,000 steps a day; boys need 15,000 steps a day.
Make Them Accountable
Set up a 5-minute daily check-in with your child. Join them every night to record everything they ate during the day and the number of steps they took.
Talk about one good thing that happened to you during the day, and one bad thing. Sharing feelings can help everyone feel supported while working together to solve problems. Set a new goal for the next day, for example, “I will have an apple tomorrow instead of chips.”
Limit Screen Time
For every 2 hours of playtime, your child earns a half-hour of screen-time (TV or computer). Take the TV and computer out of the bedroom. Studies show children with TVs in their room get less exercise, less sleep and have lower GPAs.
Survey the Pantry
Throw out or donate food made with white flour or white refined sugar. These add calories without fiber, and fiber is the number one thing you can add to your child’s diet to help them get to a healthy weight. Keep an eye out for these specific ingredients: enriched wheat flour, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, honey, molasses and sucrose.
Add Fiber-Filled Foods
Fiber makes you feel full faster and helps the body digest food. Snack on whole pieces of fruit or carrots and celery sticks. Buy 100% whole grain bread. Children need at least 25 grams of fiber a day.
Make your own dressing of olive oil and vinegar. Bottled dressings have added sugar and salt and can quickly sabotage your healthy salad. Avoid croutons and other crunchy salad toppings that may add lots of simple carbs.
Limit food that comes in a box or wrapped in plastic. Replace with food that’s as close to its natural and whole state as possible. Remember: “Eat plants, rather than food made in a plant.” Replacing processed foods will cut down on added sugar, salt and carbohydrates that manufacturers add to food, which add pounds on you.
Avoid high-calorie soda and all fruit juices, even if 100% juice. If your child won’t drink water, try making unsweetened iced tea. You can also make a healthier version of soda for a treat – mix one part 100% juice with one part seltzer for a fizzy treat that’s half the calories of juice.
Don’t forget, the fight doesn’t stop at home. Feel free to reach out to your child’s school. Click here for strategies on how to start this conversation.
Are you concerned your child may be obese? Click here to learn about the main warning sign to watch for.