As parents, we can often feel pressured to give in to the requests (or demands) of our kids. Sometimes it saves arguments, other times it’s just quicker and easier to let them eat what they want to eat…. or stay up that little bit later!
Ultimately though, we have the power (and responsibility) to support the development of optimal health of our kids and our families (and in doing so, we positively influence the health of our broader community).
Here’s 3 simple lifestyle hacks to help keep your kids happy & healthy:
- Try to Eat Home-Prepared Food:
In studies that have examined the relationship between where food is prepared, and the total number of calories consumed, results have shown that eating commercially made food leads to an increase in calories compared to eating a similar meal at home.
These studies highlight that foods prepared away from the home (including fast food eaten at home and away from home), are both fuelling the childhood obesity epidemic.
- Aim to Eat Meals as a Family:
Research has also found that children and adolescents who share meals with their families at least three times per week are less likely to be overweight, eat unhealthy foods, or be at risk for eating disorders.
Children from families who eat together have better nutrient intake because they eat more fruits and vegetables and consume more milk. They also eat fewer fried foods and drink far less carbonated soft drinks. Research also shows that children who eat with their families make better food choices when they don’t eat at home and are more likely to eat breakfast.
- Create a Regular Sleep Schedule:
If you have trouble enforcing bedtime with your kids, here’s another good reason why you should! Studies have shown that younger children who get more regular sleep are less likely to be obese!
Children who have regular sleep schedules and sleep for the recommended number of hours each night, have the least risk of being obese or having unhealthy blood markers. In contrast, kids who slept the least and had irregular sleep schedules had more than a fourfold increase in the risk of being obese and having unhealthy blood markers that indicate the beginning of other chronic illnesses and disease.
(And we could all use just a little more sleep, right)?
This article is general in nature. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice and you should seek professional verification on matters such as legal, health and wellness, travel or financial opinion prior to relying on such information.
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