Fight Childhood Obesity with a Super Snack

Fight Childhood Obesity with a Super Snack

Want your child to shed some of that baby weight she's been carrying around for too long? How about battling it out with a bowl of soup _ a healthy, nutritious snack?

Childhood obesity has always been a worry in the West, and it is now catching up fast in India too. According to a WHO study, the number of overweight children in the United States has doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has trebled since 1980. And this trend is soon catching up in our country too.

Parents should be aware that their child "with a healthy appetite" may not be a healthy child after all. If proper care is not taken right from the start, childhood obesity will eventually result in weight issues in adulthood. Special attention needs to be paid to a growing child's environment to ensure a healthy way of life is embedded in their systems from early on.

This epidemic of sorts can be helped and fought by incorporating a few changes in your daily life:

1. Set a good example
Preventing kids from being overweight has to begin with the parents. Children will lead healthy lifestyles only when their parents lead them by example. They have to become role models for their children for them to adapt to a healthy way of life. This can be done by making simple food and eating choices like replacing burgers and fries with fruits and salads, replacing cola with fresh lime water, etc.

2. Parents should make exercise an important part of their routine
Many children are spending more time in front of the TV sets, playing video games or working on the computers, especially since the pandemic became a way of life. Again, children are likely to ape what parents do, rather than just listening to the long lectures. Remember the old saying: "Kids will do as you do, not as you say"? By incorporating exercise in any form [walking to the park, instead of driving, keeping an hour aside everyday as play time, etc.] in your daily routine, parents can contribute to making the child's lifestyle an active one.

3. Teach the child to exercise portion control
Parents can also control a child's obesity levels by teaching the child not to indulge in very large meals. Instead, encouraging the habit of consuming smaller meals at frequent intervals helps keep their metabolism healthy, blood sugar levels in control and an overall happier, less cranky child.

4. Snack healthy
The time gap between lunch and dinner varies between 6 and 8 hours. Thus, if a child doesn't receive an interesting and appetising snack during that time, they either indulge in unhealthy snacks like chips and other junk alternatives, or end up consuming dinner in large quantities. Thus, incorporating healthy pre-meal fillers like soups, juices and salads must be made a lifestyle from childhood. Soup, in particular, serves as a nourishing, filling and easy-to-prepare option for introducing a wholesome snack on a regular basis. The variety of soup can vary from mixed vegetable [with half or full roughage], single vegetable soups, such as doodhi, cucumber, tomatoes; lentil soups like chana and moong daal; clear soups and broths like chicken, egg, mutton; thus, bringing in a variety that children will not even get bored of.

Promote healthy eating habits in your children right from the start to prevent them from developing poor life choices that will hamper their health later.

Megha Monga Anand