Children are remarkable imitators. They are constantly observing and absorbing our every move. Christian Parents have a huge responsibility to be good role models in their children’s lives. They will pick up both our good and bad habits. One of the most important life lessons that you can teach your child is how to take care of themselves physically.
The obesity rate for children in the United States is rising at an alarming rate. According to a study published in the March 2009, issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 17% of US children between the age of 2 and 19 are classified as obese. The study also indicates that parents are not recognizing the risk factors. One reason given is the parents of overweight children may be overweight themselves, therefore they misperceive the weight gain.
Weight can be a sensitive subject whether you are thirteen or thirty-three. Our culture gives such mixed messages about what is beautiful and acceptable, that it is no surprise that eating disorders are so prevalent in today’s society. There are other factors, such as time constraints to make proper meals, and the rising cost of food. It is sad when goldfish crackers are $1.39 and grapes are $2.99 or more a pound. However, parents can’t place all the blame on media and the cost of food, we must make responsible choices for our children.
Although there is an increasing concern about children becoming overweight, I think we should concentrate on being healthy and the weight will fall in place. I suggest focusing on three areas, nutrition, fitness, and preventive care.
If we eat junk we feel like junk, if we eat healthy meals, we feel healthy. Try some of these tips.
- Visit your local farmer’s market and co-ops, the food will usually be fresher and cheaper. Buy organically if possible.
- Make breakfast a priority. Get rid of the pop tarts and sugary cereal. Instead serve oatmeal or try a banana and a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter. Also try preparing your child’s lunch you will have more control of what they are putting in their mouth when you aren’t around.
- Take your kids grocery shopping with you, and educate them about healthy choices. It is okay to get chips, but look for a healthy version of your favorite snack foods.
- Eat more raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean protein, and fresh fish. Substitute olive oil instead of butter. Drink lots of water and cut out sugar filled drinks. Don’t be afraid to prepare a meal that you have never tried.
- Dessert doesn’t have to be cookies and ice cream, try mixing fresh fruit in season with a good sherbet.
- Aim for a home cooked meal at least a few times a week. Try eliminating fast food, if you do eat fast food try to get the healthier items.
- Balance your meals and incorporate a salad with all your family meals, this is a great way for your family to get their recommended nutrients.
- Plant your own garden. Your kids will be more likely to eat something they planted.
Exercise is one of the best things we can do. It keeps us healthy physically and mentally. Get your kids and get moving!
- Take long walks after dinner. You may even want to ask another neighborhood family to join. This is a good way to get in family time and the great outdoors is free!
- Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise four to five times a week.
- Join a gym. There are now gyms children can attend even when they are toddlers.
- Have your children participate in an activity, such as soccer, dance, softball, etc. If you are unable to afford the fees, start a neighborhood activity, like kickball!
- Make the summer an active time. Go hiking, biking, or swimming.
- Limit television and video game playing time.
Preventive care is essential to the whole family. The best way to avoid an illness is to have periodic and consistent doctor visits, for your whole family. Make it a point to schedule doctor, dental, eye, and specialist visits every year. Most of us would never skip our children’s visits, but we often neglect ourselves. Go to the doctor, so that you can be around as long as possible for your family. If one of your family members are at the beginning stages of a health problem it is best if they are treated early enough to correct the problem.
The relationship with our bodies should not be tumultuous, but should be one of love and respect. God gave us our body as a temple, it is our home while we are here on earth. He wants us to take care of it. When we honor our bodies we are honoring God. We are all busy, however, as Christian Moms, we need to make our family’s health a priority.
Copyright © Chere Williams, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved