We spoke with the Arcadia Preparatory School and they gave us tips on how their students are living a healthier life and improving their lifelong eating behaviour.
As childhood obesity continues to be a major concern, parents really need to step up and improve the eating behaviour of their children.
1. Be the perfect example
Some parents eat greens, lean protein and give their children fried chicken nuggets and white pasta all on the same dining table. If parents fed their children like adults, rather than cook ‘kids meals’ for them, they will get used to eating nutritious ingredients at a young age. The habit of healthy eating will be instilled early on.
2. Talk to your schools
The meals served in school cafeterias are sometimes quite shocking. Children are easy to please with pizzas and burgers, all food items that are high in saturated fats. Instead, parents need to evaluate the quality of food their children are putting into their bodies and insist on whole-wheat, lean meats and vegetables at school.
3. Put your child to bed
Depending on how old they are, most kids need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Parents need to give their children regular bed times and allow them to get sufficient amounts of rest, in order to reduce the risk of obesity.
4. Get moving
Apart from incorporating positive eating habits, kids must also exercise regularly to maintain good health. Research has shown that students who exercise tend to score higher or school tests than those who don’t.
5. Switch off the TV
Most experts agree that children spend too much time in front of screens these days. Televisions, computers, or video games are usually the main part of most children’s day. They need to take a break, especially during dinner time. It's generally recommended that children should spend fewer than two hours per day in front of a screen.
6. Buy groceries together
It’s important to teach children about how to read labels, where to find the healthy snacks and which aisles to avoid. Teach children about healthy nutrition early on by involving your child in planning and preparing the family's meals.
7. Food is fuel, not a reward
It’s best never to use food or sweets as a reward whenever they do something good. Food is something you eat for energy, rather than fun. Reward them with other things instead.