6 Nutrition Tips For Your Child’s Future

Overweight and obesity in children has become a major concern in our society and continues to grow. Recent studies are now showing that once children become overweight they are often staying overweight as they move into adulthood. Being overweight carries with it the potential to bring serious health issues as they age.

Combating overweight and obesity seems simpler than what it is. The most common tactic is to get the kid exercising or playing sport. While this is an absolutely great idea, exercise alone does not work.

It’s only when exercise is introduced with proper nutrition that we see real results and teaching proper nutrition to our kids is going to set them up for a healthy life. I have composed a list of my favourite 6 nutrition tips to ensure your child has a healthy future.

  1. Steer away from sugary drinks – This is pretty basic and we all know it. What we don’t know is that sugar can become highly addictive and leave us craving more. Since children are still growing they can lack the self-control needed to stop themselves from over indulging. I don’t advocate removing sugar completely from the diet as it certainly has benefits such as straight after intense exercise, but if your child has been sitting in the class all morning they probably don’t need a sugary juice or snack at morning tea.

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  1. Prioritize protein – Protein was once thought to be just for bodybuilders but we now know that is has a host of benefits totally unrelated to muscle growth. Apart from protein assisting the body to break down fat for energy, it also has a high thermic effect on the body. What this means is that when protein is ingested approximately 20-30% of the calories are burned off as heat as it is a metabolic process to digest it. The easiest way to measure how much protein we need to look at the palm of our hands. The thickness and width is the size of each portion of protein we want to consume. Keep to one palm per meal unless you are exercising heavily, then you can up that to 2 palms.

 

  1. Fat is in fact good for you – Fat has been given a bad rap over the last 20 years even though it is extremely good for our health and waistline. Not only is vthumbital for our brain and hormone function but fats found in nuts and seeds have shown to help lower cholesterol. Like anything, we don’t want to overdo our consumption of fats as this will lead to more stored body fat. Using your thumb is a great way to measure your fat portion for each meal. Use this to measure out your nuts, avocados, seeds etc.

 

  1. Carbohydrates are a great fuel source – Too many carbohydrates lead to stored fat so ensure your child or yourself is active to avoid unnecessary weight gain. Carbohydrcupates provide the body with energy required to carry out the day’s tasks but consuming too little can make us feel lethargic and the same can happen if we eat too many. This is the reason we often feel like having a nap after lunch. It’s not because we are tired, it’s because all of those carbohydrates have triggered chemicals in the brain to be released making us drowsy. Not an ideal situation for someone heading to math class after lunch! Although carbohydrates are important, they are not essential so we have a little room to play with when it comes to portion sizes. My favourite way to measure carbohydrate portions is using my hand cupped. This provides a nice serving size. If you are active, then look for 1-2 cupped hands with each meal with 2 cupped hands after exercise. If your goal is to lose a little fat, stick to one cupped hand and then slowly minus portions from there.

 

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  1. Vegetables – We all know we should be consuming more vegetables but getting children to eat them can be quite challenging. As a general rule, aim for 2 fist sized servings per meal. This works wonders if you have trouble with overeating because if you choose fibrous vegetables such as broccoli then you will fill up and stay full for longer.

 

  1. Include your child on the decisions -No one likes being told what to do or what to eat so make sure you include them. Ask them to make a fist and measure out their own vegetables or use their palm to see how much chicken they should have. Knowledge is power and the more knowledge we can pass onto children when they are young, the more powerful they will become in adulthood.