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Early eating habits

 
The hype around what we eat is nothing new with figures showing that a significant number of New Zealand kids are either overweight or obese. It is therefore important for us as parents and caregivers to encourage our children to eat healthily from a young age. Research provides clear evidence that the food habits and patterns children acquire in early childhood remain with them into adulthood.
The hype around what we eat is nothing new with figures showing that a significant number of New Zealand kids are either overweight or obese.

It is therefore important for us as parents and caregivers to encourage our children to eat healthily from a young age.

Research provides clear evidence that the food habits and patterns children acquire in early childhood remain with them into adulthood.

Even when kids are young try to allow them to self-regulate and listen to their own internal hunger cues.

Babies who turn away from the bottle or breast send signals that they're full. If kids are satisfied, don't force them to continue eating.

Reinforce the idea that they should only eat when they're hungry. Don't maintain a clean-plate policy.

Today’s busy families have fewer hours in the day to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals and portion sizes have grown considerably too.

Shape your kids food preferences by offering a variety of healthy foods and avoid junk food as much as possible.

A diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates or protein can alter the hunger signals to the brain, potentially causing overeating.

Soft drinks too often contain 8 teaspoons or more of sugar. Offer these foods occasionally and in small amounts.

Try to avoid talking about 'bad foods' or completely eliminating all sweets and snacks from your kids diet. Instead go for moderation.

If your kids eat healthily most of the time small treats won’t do them any harm.

However, don’t fall into the trap of rewarding kids with ‘bad food’ for good behaviour or to try to stop bad behaviour. Instead come up with other solutions to modify their behaviour.

Encourage your children’s natural tendency to be active. Physical activity is so important for our health and wellbeing and helps reduce the onset of obesity.

Children who are active develop self-confidence, social skills and have an additional emotional outlet which can lead to strong self-esteem and body image.

There’s no denying that our lives are generally more sedentary than in the past and that hours spent in front of the TV will ultimately have an impact on our kids.

Numerous studies show that there is a strong correlation between overweight kids and how long they spend watching TV or sitting using a computer or tablet.

Preschools who are overweight don’t necessarily go on to be overweight adults. However increasing evidence suggests that weight patterns in the early years may be an indicator of health issues later in life.

Plus young children with overweight parents have more than double the chance of being obese adults.

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