Why should we take care of the children’s diet?
Children who do not eat, Children who eat too much, children who hide when they see anything green on the plate, others who only stuff themselves with sweets … What father has not felt desperate with feeding their children?
And it is that, although always the example of the true increase of the obesity epidemic is set , and how this is becoming a serious problem among the smallest, the reality is that it is not necessary to go to these extremes to see the effects negative of a bad diet in the child. Experts point out that there is no doubt about the benefits of eating properly, and more among the little ones, however, sometimes parents forget that responsibility and adopt bad habits that in the long run impact little by little on the boy.
Obesity and overweight can lead to health problems as serious as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases , diabetes , hypertension and even some types of cancer . Therefore, a correct diet since childhood is crucial to protect us from these ailments.
According to the 5th Study carried out by CinfaSalud , Perception and health habits of Spanish families on infant nutrition , 19 percent of Spanish minors currently suffer from obesity, while 26 percent suffer from overweight. Despite the magnitude of these figures, many parents are still not aware of the need for children to improve their nutritional habits, which are increasingly farther from the Mediterranean diet .
In this sense, the specialist of the Scientific Department of Cinfa, Eduardo González Zorzano, indicates that “given that proper nutrition is a basic pillar for the correct development and well-being of the child , parents should instill healthy food habits for their children, that allow them to grow healthy and help them to prevent chronic nutritional-based diseases in childhood. “
The study reveals that the perception of parents and mothers surveyed in relation to the weight of their children does not correspond to reality, and that is that 13 percent of them are not aware that their child is overweight or obese. That is to say, 64.6 percent of parents think that their children have a normal weight for their age and height.
In this sense, 43 percent of the fathers and mothers who declare that the weight of their sons and daughters is not adequate do not take any steps to solve the problem . In contrast, 40.3 percent goes to the pediatrician or family doctor and 3.9 percent goes to a nutritionist.
Full breakfast, pending
As the years go by, the first meal of the day remains a challenge, or rather the Achilles heel of the Spanish diet , and of course, the children too. Eight out of ten Spanish children do not eat breakfast correctly, despite how González remembers “this is the first drink of the day, which provides the child with the energy necessary to face the first part of the morning and contributes to school performance , which should cover at least 20-25 percent of the nutritional needs of children. If these do not eat well and completely, productivity in class is lower and, in addition, increases the risk of obesity.
To prevent this from happening, families must organize themselves in order to allow the little ones to have a balanced breakfast . This, according to the expert, must include at least one dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese …); bread on toast, cereals, cookies, muffins or homemade cakes; a fruit or juice; jams or honey; a complement fat such as olive oil; and, occasionally, ham or some cold cuts. “For lunch, we recommend a piece of fruit, a yogurt or a sandwich of cheese or cold cuts and nuts,” says González.
The food must provide the child 30 percent of their nutritional needs , so it is appropriate that “both parents and school canteens are involved in designing healthy and balanced menus , capable of meeting the food requirements and the children’s tastes “, explains the specialist. The main courses must alternate vegetables, pulses, rice and soups, as well as meats and fish, and the dessert should normally be a fruit or a dairy.
The research reveals that 51 percent of school children consume meat between four and seven times a week, that is, much more than what experts recommend . In addition, only one in five children takes fish as often as recommended.
The snack should not be excessive, as it should provide the child with 15 percent of their dietary needs. This meal helps to avoid unnecessary snacks between meals and prevents children from reaching the last meal with excessive hunger.
And the dinner must provide the child with 30 percent of the nutrients and energy it needs, and it will be decided based on the food already taken at noon. “For this meal, purees, soup or salads are recommended, and, as a complement, meats, eggs and fish,” says González.
A fact that worries the experts is that 74.5 percent of Spanish children eat trinkets once a week , and 82 percent consume fast food at least once a month.
How to get children to eat well
Education is the basis of proper nutrition, for this reason the family plays a key role in promoting healthy habits and to ensure that the child follows a balanced diet.
To achieve them, the behavior of the different members of the family has to be coherent, organizing meals through schedules and some meals to be carried out with the children , since only 37.3 percent of the parents eat habitually with their children. sons and daughters.
Gonzalez also states that ” 71 percent of Spanish children eat at the same time they watch TVor manipulate a touch screen or mobile phone, which breaks the conversation with parents.”
Ten keys for children to eat well
Several specialists have developed a series of tips for parents to get children to eat properly :
- Recover the Mediterranean diet : the Spanish diet of all life includes all the nutrients that the child needs for proper growth. In addition, water should always be your source of hydration.
- Make sure they eat five times a day : there must be a distribution of calorie intake .
- Guided by the food pyramid : very useful instrument to know the food rations and the frequency with which they should be taken.
- Avoid foods that fatten and do not feed : the consumption of fried foods, pastries, sweets and snacks should be an exception, as they contain excessive sugars, saturated fats and salt, in addition to not providing micronutrients. The same goes for fast food.
- Eat as a family : organize the schedules so you can eat together at least once a day.
- Leaving aside the mobile and the television at the table : the attention of children and parents should focus on the food and those who sit down at the table. The technological devices interrupt or cancel the family conversation.
- Take the children to the purchase : ask them for help in preparing the list and, once in the supermarket, they will take care of a part.
- Prepare food in different ways and also cook : alternating roasts, boiled, grilled, stewed or even raw in gazpachos and salads will ensure that the food becomes a varied and stimulating habit. Teaching them some simple or fun culinary techniques and asking them to help decorate the dishes can also help to encourage good nutrition.
- Put them in motion : exercise and reduce the hours they spend in front of television and video games.
- Ensure that they sleep more than ten hours : children between 6 and 12 years should sleep more than ten hours a day, as it is a weapon also to combat overweight.
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