Have your kid been coming home bags of sugary holiday goodies? It’s OK to let little ones enjoy the season, but it’s important for parents to help them find a healthy balance, says our health expert Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital.
Why is it important to help our kids eat healthy?
Nurse Rose: More than one-third of children and adolescents in the U.S. are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Increasingly, medical studies are showing that being overweight younger in life can cause serious health problems down the road like high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.With childhood obesity on the rise, it’s important to think about your kids’ eating habits, especially during the holiday season when lots of treats are around.
How can we help our kids make healthier eating decisions?
Nurse Rose: Here are some tips to keep your kids on track this holiday season.
- Create a kids’ drawer. Create a kids’ drawer in the refrigerator filled with fruits and vegetables that are “anytime” snacks, and let them access the drawer whenever they want. This way, they’ll fill up on good stuff before the party starts.
- Go for quality, not quantity. Bake your own sweets to avoid the more calorie-heavy and fattier store-bought options, and make smaller batches. Don’t put all the cookies out at once – store some out of sight for later.
- Avoid sugary beverages. Instead of soda or juice, try fruit-infused water or seltzer topped with just a bit of all natural fruit juice. It’s an easy way to cut sugar and calories.
- Find ways to keep your kids active. Whether it’s exercising indoors, going for walks or ice skating — encourage your kids to stay active and join them when you can.
- Keep a routine. Feed your kids regular, healthy meals during holiday party season so that they do not over-indulge at parties. Schedule a regular time for daily exercise.
Finally, let a party be a party. Relax and allow your child and yourself to enjoy some indulgences while being reasonable about portions. Remember YOU are your child’s best example. Lead by example by filling up your plate with veggies and limiting carbs, starches, sugar and fatty meats.
A healthy diet is an important way to keep diabetes at bay. Find out if you’re at risk for diabetes by taking our fast, FREE diabetes risk assessment.
Additional Health Tips from Rose
Find more family health tips online or tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to hear Rose live.