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Childhood Obesity- Paying Attention to what our kids ACTUALLY eat

Childhood Obesity- Paying Attention to what our kids ACTUALLY eat

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My daughter LOVES getting creative with her volcano (oranges and string cheese) at the top is mommy approved, the bottom left photo is the sugar demo and right is the hot mess I had to stop. 

Recently I was reminded that even when I think I know what my daughter is eating, She caught me by suprise when she had her friend over and they were going to have a tea party. Luckily I was sitting next to them and observed what they had selected for this party. 

It is right after the holidays and i DONT purchase cheeseballs or "cheeze its" but for the holiday parties, grandparents or guests had brought them and I forgot about them. 

I waited until the girls had their teaparty set up and with my friend (the other girls mother) not saying anything, I took it upon myself to stop the girls and make them look at what they had grabbed: Gogurts, cheese sticks, fruit snack, cheese puffs and cheese its.  I made them pick one dairy and one of the others and they had to throw the rest out and put the dairy back in the fridge. The mother of the other girl was obviously fine with me yelling because she said "you need to be listening" but i thought to myself, she isnt seeing what is happening here, and she as well should be listening.

It made me realize that there are often times throughout the year when my daughter would have tea parties and I was busy doing something else I wasn’t paying attention. Not knowing all she had consumed throughout the day thinking I am making her healthier. So as of now, I have made it a point to make a chart and ask what she is consuming. 

Visual Learning

Children respond better to visuals. As you see in the top photo, there are glasses of sugar. I made my daughter tell me what she ate the day before, and the second glass was in the morning after cereal. I showed her what she was eating, and when she asked me for sweets later on, i asked her if she would like to drink the glass of sugar. That helped end the begging on sweets and she started to ask me what she could have.

As you see when she makes her own snacks she likes to put them in fun shapes, and design patterns, so i let her. I tried an experiment of getting her an afternoon snack of fruit. Day 1 the fruit was mixed in a bowl, Day 2 i put it on a plate and made shapes. She ate more with the fun patterns and it seemed as if she was more content. So, with dinner i have started to make it fun, looking things up online for ideas etc.

Charting & Limitations

If your child is in school, daycare, after school program ask them or their providers what they are eating in school. After talking with my daughter she told me she would rather take her own lunch to school and I was more excited so I could monitor. 

We made it a point at grocery store to look for things and I gave her choices because of course she wants oreos and chips she is a kid! She has seen the gluten free products I eat and then a commercial on the Disney Chanel talking gluten free bakeries and decided she wanted to have a sandwich with gluten free bread, she didn’t care for Ezekiel bread but she tried it!

Letting her pick out the foods in the store is much easier for us because she has made the decision and knows what we have in the house as part of her choices when she gets hungry.

Charting will also help set limits. Explain that eating 6 cuties (mini oranges) is NOT ok! There is alot of sugar, or drinking orange juice and milk rather than water all day is NOT ok.

She is a kid, and yes I want her to be healthy but I do allow her if she wants fast food she can choose it for one meal a week, and she occasionally gets oreos, and ice cream. BUT parents YOU HAVE TO set the limitations.

The people who take care of my daughter know my rules and if she is at a sleep over she will ask if she can have certain things, and of course she can. She has to try those things but we dont have to allow it.

I feel that by being honest with her and showing her the details, she will make better choices on her own. I know by sheltering her from things she would be curious, so its better to get involved.

Educate

Explain why orgainic is better than than non. If you dont know, READ and educate yourself! 

I go through the grocery store with my daughter explaining hormones, chemicals etc. Why? For me it is all i can do as a parent to explain to her that if she eats healthier now, it could delay her becoming sick as an adult.

Her father, both grandparents and great grandparents have all had cancer, and my side of the family my mother and grandmother have diabetes and congestive heart failure.

AND if you have kids in sports, just because they are "burning" calories doesn’t mean its ok for them to consume more! Just pay attention to what they eat AND drink. If they are chugging down gatorade are you counting that into their daily sugar intake?

BE the example for other parents

Your kids may not love you for it, but give them healthy options for the days they are in charge of snacks for sporting events or school.

We offered cheese sticks and apples, and I explained to my daughter that if we are the ones that try maybe others will too, and we actually saw this trend with her soccer team.

Prepare meals in advance for your family. If you are working or running kids throw something together on the weekend to heat up and eat fast on Monday, or crock pot a meal! 

I have been told I am over board, and maybe yes, but I want my child to know exactly what she is consuming and I tell her, kids are smart enough to know, and they are sponges so teach them right early. 

If you make an effort now, it could keep your child from struggling from obesity and we are one step closer to having healthy children!  

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