ATA Martial Arts Top 10 Healthy Eating Tips for Children with Tips from Martial Arts Mom’s in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake
Changing Lives ATA Martial Arts in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake is concerned about the reports about childhood obesity becoming rampant in America. This is not an experience we wish on any child. Obesity is a scary thing. Preventing obesity can be easy and empowering for children. Parents and care givers need to allow children to have control over their bodies. Kids need to learn to take control of their real needs and treat their bodies with love and respect, the sort of traditional life skills we teach at Changing Lives ATA Martial Arts.
Nutrition is at least as important as exercise. People who attempt to lose weight are often totally confused about the role of nutrition. Some think that if they work out, they can eat whatever they want. Not true! Worse, contestants on The Biggest Loser often come in thinking “they’ll work out a lot and won’t eat at all,” says Bob Harper, a trainer on the popular TV show. This is not a good strategy! You need to hit the sweet spot: fueling your body enough with healthy foods to give you energy to get through the day (and your exercise routine), but not so much that you take in more than you’re burning off.
Changing Lives ATA Martial Arts has provided these practical healthy eating tips for your children and yourself. Our Martial Arts Moms have added tips that work for them and their children. For more information about our programs, please visit us at http://atakick.com .
Practical Healthy Eating Tips for Children
1. Encourage your child to eat regular meals and snacks: Offer three meals and one to three snacks each day, and serve your child a wide variety of healthy foods. Martial Arts Mom’s Tip: Think ahead and pack several healthy snacks for “on the go” so that children have easy access to healthy options.
2. Serve plenty of fruits and vegetables: Fruits and veggies are packed with nutrients, yet contain few calories. Be sure to include at least one fruit and/or vegetable at each meal and snack. Martial Arts Mom’s Tip: Remember, a food needs to be introduced up to 10 times before a child’s taste buds can enjoy it. Children love to help in the kitchen—allow them to help make smoothies or rinse/prepare vegetables.
3. Focus on high-fiber whole grains: Whole grain, fiber-rich breads, cereals, pastas, rice and low-fat crackers provide more vitamins, minerals and fiber to help meet your child’s nutritional needs. Martial Arts Mom’s Tip: Remember that parents lead by example. Most of the time, children eat what we do.
4. Choose low-fat and non-fat dairy products: Low-fat and non-fat milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream and ice cream contain less fat and cholesterol than regular-fat versions. If your child eats cheese regularly, consider purchasing reduced-fat varieties. (Keep in mind that children between one and two years of age need to consume whole milk.) Martial Arts Mom’s Tip: Can’t get your child to drink milk? Try blending ½ cup frozen fruit into 1 cup low-fat milk. Don’t forget to serve with a straw.
5. Limit sweetened beverages: Juice, soda, lemonade, and fruit drinks contain excess sugar and calories, but few nutrients—sometimes, none at all. Serve these drinks only on occasion, and serve no more than four to eight ounces—you can dilute these with water. Plain water is the best choice. Consider going green by purchasing reusable water bottles; let your child pick one in their favorite color. Martial Arts Mom’s Tip: Add fruit to your ice cube trays, blueberries work great!
6. Avoid sugar-laden breakfast cereals, breakfast bars, and granola bars: Many cereals, breakfast bars, and granola bars that appeal to kids are high in sugar and have ingredients almost like a candy bar. Choose unsweetened, low-fat, whole grain, fiber-rich versions of these items instead. Martial Arts Mom’s Tip: Add fruit to naturally sweeten cereals. Also this is a great meal for children to “prepare” themselves; they get pretty excited when they help. Don’t forget, children can only eat what you bring into the house. If you avoid buying sugary foods, your children won’t be able to eat them.
7. Reduce sugar intake: Kids love sweet treats like candy, cookies, donuts, muffins and chewy “fruit” snacks, but too much sugar is not good for their health or teeth. Offer these items infrequently – perhaps as dessert after dinner – and limit the serving size. Choose healthier alternatives such as fresh, dried, freeze-dried or canned (in juice or extra-light syrup) fruit. Martial Arts Mom’s Tip: Our family opts to go to our martial arts class for our after dinner treat. We also have a “special of the week”—each week our children get to pick a new fruit or vegetable to try. This encourages the children to try new things and offers a healthy alternative to help change things up after dinner.
8. Use pre-packaged convenience foods sparingly: Although quick and easy, these highly processed foods are high in salt, sugar, and/or fat—as well as preservatives—and have little nutritional value. Serve these items only in “emergency” situations. Martial Arts Mom’s Tip: We wash all fruits and veggies right after we get home from the grocery store. This helps save prep time when preparing meals. Also, “think double:” Double your recipes and freeze half for future meals. Just remember to label everything prior to putting it in the freezer and leave at least ½ inch of space at the top of the container as frozen foods expand.
9. Avoid fast food: There are few nutrients in fast food—and plenty of calories, sugar, fat, cholesterol, salt and preservatives. When you do eat out, make healthy restaurant choices and help your child order the most nutritious items off of the menu. Martial Arts Mom’s Tip: As moms, we know this isn’t always avoidable. So when you do have to make this choice, consider the healthy alternatives that fast food restaurants are now offering. Simply replacing the French fries with fruit or veggie dippers and the soda with low-fat milk will make a world of difference.
10. Prevent habitual overeating: Infants and young children are very good at paying attention to their hunger and fullness cues. Reinforce that your kids should eat only when they are hungry and stop as soon as they start to feel full. Avoid the “clean-your-plate” mentality. If your child is satisfied, don’t force him to finish his meal. Martial Arts Mom’s Tip: Invest in a home food scale and an extra set of measuring cups/spoons. This is a great way to incorporate portion control and measuring for children. Obviously, you can’t measure and weigh every time; however, children love to utilize what they learn in school at home.
Changing Lives ATA Martial Arts offers the finest Martial Arts Instruction in the Virginia Beach and Chesapeake area. Senior Master Thomas provides training in many martial arts disciplines, including mixed martial arts, krav maga, tae kwon do and traditional karate. As a member of the ATA (American Taekwondo Association), all instructors are certified and qualified. Changing Lives ATA Martial Arts teaches all ages from tiny tigers and kids to adults and seniors.
For more information about us, visit http://www.atakick.com