The whole concept of childhood obesity has become a recent boogieman of sorts. We constantly hear from the news that children are facing an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. Well, we’re not here to argue with that, but we will argue that a vegetarian diet can do wonders to alleviate the fears you may be having for your kids. Here are a few things to consider regarding a vegetarian diet and your children.
Instilling good eating habits doesn’t have to begin when bad habits have already set in. You may be surprised to learn, but you can start teaching your kids to eat vegetarian or vegan while they’re breastfeeding. How is this possible? Well, when breastfeeding, whatever the mother eats will be transferred to the child, meaning that if the mother’s diet consists of fast food, that’ll be the predisposed taste the child will grow up craving as opposed to a mother who’s a vegetarian passing on the taste of fruits and vegetables to the next generation.
Once your kids have grown up enough to eat solid foods, it’s important to have a balanced diet ready and waiting for them, specifically with correct proportions laid out. A big problem that leads to obesity is overeating, and that doesn’t differentiate between a standard diet or a vegetarian diet one bit. You eat too much on veggies and you’re still going to be retaining more than you’d prefer. Look into serving sizes and adjust meals accordingly.
Also, providing the smart, healthy snack options will do wonders in the long run. Getting your kid used to munching on carrots instead of chips is a fantastic advantage, or soda with 100% fruit juice or water (especially water). Having freshly-washed fruits and veggies readily available whenever your child wants a snack is a leg-up over many parents who only stock their pantries with cracks, chips, pretzels, and other starches (grains and starches are converted to sugar if you’re not burning off your intake).
Probably one of the simplest bits of advice you can get is to encourage your kids to get some physical activity into their day. Sitting them in front of the TV now and then won’t ruin their life, but letting them grow up attached at the eyes is poison to their health. Regulate the amount of time a day that they sit and do nothing and gently push them to go outside or get involved with sports or something similar.
Perhaps the hardest change to make is not with anything your child does, but with you. None of what you’re preaching will get through if you’re doing the opposite. Kids respond to how they see their role models acting, so if you spend all day noshing on chips in front of the TV, they simply won’t listen when you tell them to eat some apples and go run around the yard for an hour or two.
Families need to work together to make positive changes in their life and one such positive change is indeed to a vegetarian or vegan diet. The only problem is, this isn’t a quick fix. You can’t go in expecting magic to happen and then just be able to go back to the way things used to be. You need to be prepared to play the long game, as in your whole life. But these are your kids you’re talking about. Aren’t they worth the effort?