Moms Talk: Keeping Kids Fit And Healthy
Your Alpharetta Moms Council answers your questions today.
Each week, your Alpharetta and Milton Moms Council answers questions about parenting topics. We hope you will join in our discussion and express your opinion in the "tell us in the comments" section below.
Q: Childhood obesity is out of control in America. What do you do to keep your children fit and healthy?
A: The more education I get on food nutrition, the more I can't help but to care about what my kids put in their bodies. Some days I wish I just didn't know what I know because like most things, its so much harder to do the right thing, at least when your kids get older, more verbal and more independent.
In short though, I don't even buy sodas. Sixteen teaspoons of sugar in a can of Coke? No thank you. Chips and snacks are really considered a "treat" and not always around, and I go to extreme lengths to hide ice cream so we can have an occasional dessert as a family (more often, Mom likes to have a little something just for her!), but unless I put it in a paper bag, and hide it under the frozen salmon in the full size freezer, it gets found, eaten and no one confesses. My kids don't really have the dessert mentality it's such a rare thing.
My kids all have a sport or other active activity that they participate in to get in their exercise. We go on family walks for the exercise, but what we're really after during those times is family time with no cellphones allowed. The kids always start out grumpy, but they always come 'round to acceptance (and something tells me they will be taking walks with their families and remembering "the good ole days" when they were a kid).
-Audrey Greenwood, mom of 3
A: Fourteen years of dance lessons, starting at age 3, ensured that my daughter always had sufficient exercise. It was somewhere around 8th or 9th grade that the meals in the car–between school and dance or voice–switched from McDonald's to Subway. Today, as a junior in college, she rarely misses a daily workout and is a faithful user of MyFitnessPal on her phone, recording her exercise and every piece of food that goes into her mouth. She says that being so active growing up, she could never imagine not keeping fit.
-Ronna Ruppelt, mom of 1
A: We work to keep our kids fit and healthy with some of the following family habits:
1. We don't eat fast food. The only times the kids go to fast food restaurants would be on an outing with a friend or occasionally when we travel. For quick meals on busy nights we rely more on healthier frozen foods, quick pasta dish or pizza.We try to pair these with fresh fruit and a vegetable.
2. We have our kids bring their lunches from home, they can purchase a school lunch once every two weeks. That gives us more control over what they eat.
3. We don't buy soft drinks and limit juices. We offer water and milk and make smoothies at home. We rarely purchase store bought donuts, cookies sweets etc. We try and make things at home whenever possible. We do allow some type of dessert after dinner, but try to balance it with other treats they may have had during the day at school or friends. I find what they get outside the house hard to control, so we try extra hard at home.
4. We talk about what is in food and try to engage the kids in knowing where food comes from, what is in it and how we prepare it. We have had a small garden the past few years to encourage their interest and participation in healthy foods.
5. We limit TV and video games. We encourage outside play, having just purchased a trampoline, which expends a lot of energy. My husband and I try hard to work as role model to eat right and exercise and involve the kids in sports teams and neighborhood play.
Teri Harrison, mom of 4
A: In our house the kitchen does not have an open door policy. The kids have to ask permission to get a snack and they have to specifically ask for which food item they are requesting. We do keep the junk food in the house and a lot of it, but it is monitored. We do not drink sodas unless it is a special occasion or we are at a restaurant. We encourage the children to drink water and juice.
If it is nice outside, we make the kids play outside and get exercise. They have scooters, skateboards and bikes. They can jump on the trampoline, shoot some hoops or play with the balls and toys we have for outside play. We do not let them play video games, play on their Ipods, or on the computers without permission. We prefer to keep them active rather than sitting around.
We also try to serve balanced meals. Whether the kids eat them or not is an entirely different story. But the choice for nutritious food is placed in front of them on a daily basis.
-Tammy Bester, mom of 3