This week’s launch of the government’s new obesity strategy has been met with mixed responses, but even if you’re not happy with the new targets and recommendations, there are still plenty of changes you can make in your home to help prevent not only childhood obesity but also family health problems associated with the consumption of unhealthy foods and a lack of exercise. The BBC news site has put together a few tips on how to help your child maintain a healthy weight, but we’ve gone one step closer to focus on the family as a whole…
Be Active Together
Although encouraging your children to take up more sporting activities is a good idea, sometimes putting all the pressure and focus on them might well turn out to have to opposite effect. Instead, try leading by example – if you introduce regular active sessions as a family rather than concentrating on where your kids need to make changes, they will be far more likely to respond positively. And then there’s also the added benefit that you’ll be getting more exercise too. This doesn’t have to be an expensive and structured session - it could be something as simple as regular Sunday afternoon walks.
Continuing on the ‘lead by example’ theme, if you’re worried about your child’s diet, perhaps consider eating together as a family, and eating the same thing. There’s no reason why your children shouldn’t be eating the same balanced meals as you, and this could also help them develop and healthier relationship with food, as well as getting you thinking about the sort of food you consume too – if you’d rather your children saw you eating healthy balanced meals instead of ready meals, then this is a positive step in the right direction for the whole family.
Just as important as eating together is to appreciate the fact that healthy portion control for children is a must. Instead of piling their plates with the same amount of food you eat, start with a small portion and then see if they’re still hungry and want more once they’ve finished. And even though many of us were told that we couldn’t leave the table until our plates were clear, it’s important that you don’t force your child to eat if they’re full.
Walk or Cycle to School
Children need about 60 minutes of exercise a day, but this doesn’t have to all be done in one go, and one of these easiest ways to reach this goal is by leaving the car at home and walking or cycling to school if possible. And like with all our other tips, you benefit too!
Don’t Focus on Body Image
Words can be very powerful things and can have negative as well as positive effects. When talking about cutting down on food or increasing exercise with your children, don’t focus on the subject of body image and avoid phrases like ‘too fat’. Concentrate on boosting their self-esteem, focus on the health benefits of more exercise, and talk about food in a positive way, not something that should be cut down on or banned.
You may have noticed that all this important advice and guidance that you can give your children when it comes to food and exercise is also something you can take on board yourself too - healthy children and healthy families go hand in hand. If you need some extra assistance, using Sainsburys voucher codes to order your groceries online can help you plan out your meal times more effectively, and Cycle Surgery promo codes can help you save on cycling accessories if you want to include more of this in your family routine. And if you need to save on outdoor wear for walks, then our Blacks discount vouchers are a great starting point.
By Anna Scott, 19th August 2016