Why Your Child is Overweight

You’re a good parent, who just wants to give your child a happy childhood. And that includes some of the goodies that he loves too much on food is, after all, a part of a culture. But you are careful you do make sure he gets the healthy stuff too. Still, things do go wrong. Here are a few resonances why.

Your portion sizes are too generous:

What most Indian moms fail to realize s that foods like biscuits and cake are given to children abroad in limited quantities” Says R Radha, a software engineer, housewife, and mother of two children from Chennai. When I went to Europe, I was surprised to see that at teatime, the biscuits were rationed: each child got only one or two. There, young children usually have something nourishing for tea and skip dinner altogether!’ Compare that to allowing a child to polish off an entire pack of cream biscuits all herself.

once fat cells are formed in the body, they can be a key factor in adult obesity, so you’re not doing your child any good by letting her indulge in unhealthy food while she’s young. Allowing your little one to grow round as a butterball and then putting her on a crash diet when she hits 16 will leave her with a lifelong weight problem.

You use food for reward or punishment:

Resist the urge to say that you will make dessert if your child cleans up his room, or to withhold a sweet treat as a disciplinary measure. Soothing your distraught child with chocolate coke may make you feel like a caring mom, but by doing this, you’re teaching your children to learn to associate chocolate cake with pleasure, an emotional eater is born. Emotional eaters eat when they’re upset, depressed, angry, bored, or even when they want to celebrate. Don’t turn your child into one.

Your cooking methods aren’t the healthiest:

What goes on in the kitchen is very closely linked to what shows up on the weighing scale. The right cooking practice can shave as much as 200-500 calories off your food. Try roasting papads, baking jacket potatoes, stir-frying vegetables in minimal oil and grilling paneer and meat. Microwave cooking is very useful when it comes to cutting calories. Vegetables blanched or steamed in the microwave retain a lot of their nutritive value and don’t need a drop of oil to cook.

You’re okay with static pursuits:

The easiest way to keep children safely occupied? Plonk them in front of the idiot box. TV dinners and lunches, machines to go with endless episodes of Tom and Jerry, it all adds up. And while an XBox may seem like a fairly harmless way to chill out, the virtual car and motorbike chases can actually make children sluggish and seriously overweight. Get your child moving to stay fit. Choose outdoor games over those on a computer.

You Inadvertently buy Frankenfood:

Without realising, you may be picking up genetically modified and artificially beautified food off the supermarket shelves. Chemicals, pesticide and growth hormones that are pumped into food to make them look better are a little-known cause of obesity among children,” Says Dr. Radha, A Mumbai-bassed nutritionist and obesity and health consultant. “these chemicals causes malfunctioning of the neurotransmitters that signal to the brain that you are full. They create a craving for white flour and white sugar( junk food, in other words), the consumption of which is one of the leading causes of obesity” They may even make hormonal glands malfunction.

Your cooking is limited to a Boring Repertoire:

Unappetising food, however healthy, will only make the ‘forbidden’ foods more attractive. Kids should be encouraged to experiments with and share all kinds of food, and learn to make a good choice from among those. Keep things in perspective by serving the occasional ice-cream or halwa-puri lunch. Replace soft drinks with homemade lemonade and substitutes fresh fruits for dessert. Serve dhoklas and mini Idllis instead of samosas for tea and replace Chiwda with sprouts salad.

Be firm about making everyone (even the elders) eat the right food, so that it becomes a given. You have to gear your entire household to be healthy, Says health-food guru Karen Anand, a Pune-based entrepreneur, food consultant and author of Lean Cuisine Curries. “I avoid processed food and I don’t keep soft drinks at home. You can’t drink aerated drinks and tell your child not to have any.”

Sarafudheen PM

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