So when this media release dropped into my inbox, I felt compelled to share.
Mums and dad’s out there, this is worth a read.
With one in four Australian children considered obese*, keeping nutrition simple may be a vital key in changing the trend, says nutrition and wellbeing expert Tyler Tolman.
According to a survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2008, children become fatter as they head toward their teens. Such findings are easier to understand when you consider a recent Cancer Council of NSW study, which found junk food companies can market sugary cereals and confectionary as healthier foods than they actually are**.
Analysis revealed Kellogg’s Coco Pops, Arnott’s Tiny Teddies and Nestle Smarties can be promoted to children according to the companies own health standards, set up as part of voluntary advertising codes.
“Under such guidelines, children are being introduced to highly processed sugars, artificial colours, synthetic preservatives and more; setting them up for not only sugar addiction, but obesity and related health issues into adulthood,” says Tolman, who will be in Australia next month as part of his Health Vibe Tour of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Yet, it’s not just children being duped by lax advertising standards, it’s also parents who fall into the trap of believing what they see promoted to them.
Tolman, who has assisted people heal from diet related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and hypertension, says many parents may believe they’re feeding their children nutritious foods, but are in fact helping aid a common, health-destroying addiction.
“I was once giving a presentation to about 400 people about health and nutrition, motivating them to eat fruits and avoid artificial sweeteners and colors that can cause ADHD and other problems,” Tolman says.
“After the presentation, a woman asked, ‘Tyler, I need your help. My daughter is having some issues and I don’t know why.’ So, I asked, ‘What did she have for breakfast?’ She said, ‘She had fruits.’ I asked what fruits — apples? Pomegranates? She said, ‘Froot Loops.’ A massive paradigm shift needs to take place. Processed breakfast cereals marketed to children are sugar, artificial colors and crap. No wonder this child was having massive issues. So when it comes to finding healthy foods for kids, these types of foods are not the answer.”
Efforts to improve what children eat should begin before they even learn to walk, according to findings in a series paediatric nutritional studies published in the US earlier this month***.
How to Keep Kids Nutrition Simple, Fun and Healthy
“Don’t listen to what everybody has been saying; you have got to have this; you have got to have that. You need to keep it simple. Nature is simple,” Tolman says. “And nutrition isn’t just about food.”
Encourage children to play in the sun for at least 20 minutes per day;
Exercise is extremely important. It helps the body to eliminate toxins, digest food better and overall function more effectively. Make it fun so kids don’t see it as a chore;
Ensure they’re drinking clean spring water regularly;
Use fruits as healthy snacks. Kids just like to snack on to something and then go, run and play. Don’t stop them. Get them started eating something healthy as they go.
Help your child to love healthy food. If you give your daughter an apple, she will bite it— one little chunk — and usually, that’s it. But if you take the time to cut the apple, take off the skin and then offer it to her, then it tastes really sweet and she will eat the whole thing. Find the fruit that your children like and feed it to them as much as they want.
Top Kid-Friendly Snacks
Apples have fibre and are good for the digestive system. They literally grab the toxins and throw them out of the body. They add so many minerals and nutrients.
Oranges, as well as papayas and mangoes have plenty of fibre and hydrate too. Freeze them during summer for an instant nature-made orange ice block.
Kids often love dates thanks to their natural sweetness and chewy texture. They give energy, help with digestion, and get rid of pathogens.
Brimming with calcium and fibre, celery goes great with a dollop of almond butter, which adds in protein and good fats.
If your children don’t like greens, make a greens smoothie with them—kids love getting involved. Get them up on the counter to help chop up the fruits and vegetables; take some celery sticks, apples and big handfuls of greens; put in some cucumbers, avocados, dates, and a lot of water and you have got a big fat smoothie blended up.
Lead by Example
Tolman says the best action you can take when it comes to children and nutrition is lead by example.
“Do all of this for yourself, too. Lead by example. If a child sees you doing something, they are going to do it. They want to be like you and if you want to be healthy and want to set a beautiful example, these traits will develop in them as well.”
* Australian Institute of Health and Welfare statistics
** AIHW analysis of the 2007–08 NHS.
*** The package of 11 studies was published in the journal Pediatrics and was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, among others. Investigators tracked the diets of roughly 1,500 6-year-olds, comparing their eating patterns to those observed in a study that followed them until age 1.