Help Your Child Maintain a Healthy BMI

by Michelle LaRowe

Physical Activity Helps Maintain Healthy BMI

Physical Activity Helps Maintain Healthy BMI

Whether it’s the six o’clock news or a letter from school nurse, the message is loud and clear; obesity is a problem among today’s youth.

Parents can fortunately be proactive and help to ensure their kids win the battle of the bulge. Here are five ways you could help children maintain healthy BMI:

Healthy Family Diet

Many of the problems associated with childhood obesity are actually family problems in disguise. While two healthy weight parents may have an overweight child, often the issue doesn't lie in the child but rather in the family's diet. To help children maintain a healthy BMI and make great food choices, the entire family needs to adopt healthy eating habits.

Move away from high carb, high sugar items and focus on vegetables, fruits, and protein for daily meals. Reducing processed foods from the menu and allowing unlimited access to unprocessed foods and grains will help children identify healthy snacks and meals and enjoy a wider range of foods.

Limit Exposure to Unhealthy Foods

While there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, too many families are relying on pre-packaged junk food and sweets to get their daily calories. Cabinets are stocked with sugary snacks and children too often have easy access to them. Ridding the kitchen of unhealthy foods, or at least moving them out of reach of the children, allows children to focus on healthy alternatives and avoid the temptation of sweet treats. Create a healthy kitchen to foster your healthy family. Consider creating a healthy food bin in the fridge filled with string cheese, fresh fruits and veggies.

Eliminate Calorie-Heavy Drinks

A study found that children consume nearly 11 percent of their daily calories from sugar-laden drinks. While whole milk and the occasional cup of juice are fine to consume in moderation, children who are regularly consuming sugary drinks and excessive juices are at risk for childhood obesity.

To help your child maintain a healthy BMI, limit juices and eliminate sodas from their daily diet. Encourage water intake, the forgotten health drink!
Eat In

Between the convenience of dining out and the ever decreasing amount of personal time for cooking, it's no surprise that families dine out more today than ever before.

Unfortunately, dining out takes as big of a toll on your waistline as it does your wallet.

Since foods are prepared for taste rather than nutrition, diners eat more calories per meal.

A simple strategy for reducing your child's caloric intake and BMI is to prepare healthy meals at home rather than heading out for dinner. Simple meals that are loaded with essential nutrition of protein, prepared vegetable and starch, take the same amount of time as loading the family up to go out. Finding alternatives, such as slow cooked meals, can shorten cooking times and increase health.

Move, Move, Move

While a healthy diet is imperative to a healthy BMI, encouraging healthy habits through exercise is just as important. Enrolling children in sports and camps are a great way to get them outside and moving, but you should encourage the entire family to take up a physical activity. Whether it's an after-dinner walk, a family hike or just playing together in the yard, children are more likely to keep exercise habits when it becomes a family bonding event.

Ultimately, helping your child attain a healthy BMI and positive body image starts with in the family.Encourage healthy eating by preparing unprocessed meals. Stock only healthy snacks at home. Lastly, throw away high fructose containing sugar free sodas out of the house.
Help children avoid lifelong conditions due to obesity. Keep your family active and healthy to promote weight control and fitness.

Author - Michelle LaRowe

With over 20 years of experience in the nanny world as an award-winning nanny, agency director, and parenting author, Michelle LaRowe is considered a leading industry expert. A mom herself, she loves to educate parents and nannies on the importance of quality in-home childcare. Find out more by visiting @eNannySource on Twitter. (Opens new window)

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