Unhealthy dietary habits are often a cause of concern for moms. It is tough for most parents to convince their kids to eat healthy food. Children from the age group of three to twelve years are often too stubborn. They get addicted to tasty unwholesome junk food quickly. However, these foods have inadequate nutrients and high energy. This, developing of unhealthy food habits may lead to kids being underweight or overweight.
Persistent unhealthy eating practices make the kids obese. Many kids suffer from malnutrition too and as they grow into adults they have a higher chance of medical conditions like heart and liver disease.
As kids start going to preschool, they could be more unrelenting in their demands.
In this article, I have tried to address the issue of unhealthy food habits in kids and offer information about healthier options available.
Unhealthy Eating Habits Commonly Found in Kids Today
Kids adapt to unhealthy eating practices quickly. They love eating junk food. Children of the age group of three years and above start getting more stubborn. At that age, mothers often find it difficult to convince their kids to adopt healthy practices. The unhealthy food practices kids indulge in these days are:
- Munching on unhealthy snacks.
- Intake of packaged food excess in sugar, fat, and salt and lacking fiber and protein.
- Refusing to eat green veggies and fruits.
- Having beverages, juices, and cold drinks all over the day.
- Mindless eating throughout the day when not required.
- Your kid prefers to eat only selective foods.
- Watching television or playing video games while having food.
- Trying to eat as fast as possible without chewing food properly.
- Avoiding breakfast and having food at irregular hours.
- Unbalanced diet.
Adverse Effects on the Health of Children
Unhealthy food preferences and eating junk food regularly can ruin your kid’s health after a few years. And this could lead to undesirable health problems if your child regularly takes unbalanced meals lacking nutrition.
As your kid grows, he could face some of the major health concerns like:
- An increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- A possibility of developing cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis in later life.
- A chance of developing obesity, hypertension, and cancer.
- Your kid could suffer from high cholesterol and high blood pressure as he grows up eating junk foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.
- Most junk food contains high levels of sodium. It can lead to increased headaches and migraines.
- Lack of proper nutrition can lead to stress, tiredness, and your kid’s capacity to work.
- Kids who ate fast food frequently had increased chances of asthma.
- Another reason for weight gain could be drinking juice. Juice lacks fiber and is high in sugar. Drinking juice regularly can increase your child’s blood sugar.
- Junk food contains a high amount of carbs and can cause the eruption of acne.
- Fast foods can mar academic performances. Consumption of high sugar levels is often followed by sugar crashes and weak concentration. Children find it difficult to focus for a long period and are unable to complete tasks.
- Fast food contains refined carbohydrates and sugar and can lead to dental cavities. Your child could suffer from tooth decay and other dental problems.
Apart from the impact on health, unhealthy food habits in kids could also be a cause of the following emotional and behavioral issues:
- Nutritional deficiencies can affect cognitive development in kids. A reduced amount of nutrition in children during childhood can diminish energy, interest in learning, and affect memory. Consuming food high in trans and saturated fats can have an impact on physical growth, body weight, and final height.
- Most children today consume foods that have imbalanced nutrients. Their diet lacks proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The ill effects on health include mood swings, increased tantrums, and physical lethargy.
- Fast foods are high in calories, sodium, and saturated fat. Overindulgence can increase the chances of depression.
- Nutritional deficiencies can impact a child’s social, emotional, and psychological development. They can have behavioral problems in school and great effort in their workplace during adults. They can have sleep issues.
Healthier Food Options for Kids
There are several healthier food choices available for kids to lessen unhealthy eating habits. Parents can encourage their kids to have wholesome nutritious food as they are extremely beneficial.
Monitoring your kids to eat healthy food in childhood can help the kids to lead a normal healthy life as adults. Also, a regular intake of balanced nutritious meals can help the kids to calm their moods, stabilize their energy, retain a healthy weight, and improve their memory.
Parents can make efforts to teach their children about good eating habits. It can help them to get accustomed to these eating patterns all through their life. Some of the good eating habits that parents can instill in their kids are:
Parents can make an effort to give their kids a balanced breakfast loaded with proteins. It can help the kids to stay satiated for a longer period. Healthy breakfast options include whole-grain toast with boiled vegetables and peanut butter, steamed sweet potatoes, oats with vegetables, egg sandwich with whole wheat bread, sprouted cereals, hard-boiled eggs and an apple, Greek yogurt, boiled veggies and fruits, and peanut butter or grated cheese on multi-grain toast.
Moms can start providing alternatives to unhealthy junk food for their kids. They can be given more healthy options like low-fat milk in place of whole milk, homemade smoothie in place of ice cream, baked chips or nuts in place of potato chips, olive oil in place of butter, Oats noodles in place of refined flour noodles, oil-based dressings in place of cream-based salad dressings, whole wheat or whole grain bread in place of white bread, or flavored sparkling water in place of soda. These are some of the healthier options that parents can gradually introduce.
Cutting Down Fat
You can reduce fat and sugar in your kid’s diet. Trim down sugar-sweetened drinks, salt and limit the amount of fat in your child’s diet. You can promote a healthy weight by including healthy snacks such as fruits and veggies, lean slices of meats, baked chips, whole grain bread and cereals, and low-fat dairy products.
Healthy Snacks at Home
Parents can keep healthy snacks at home so that their kids can avoid indulging in unhealthy ones. Keep a bowl of fresh fruits on the table or a bowl of baby carrots, veggie sticks, vegetable cutlets, or cups of applesauce in the fridge so that your child can munch on them whenever they feel hungry.
Provide meals regularly at a fixed time every day. It will satiate their hunger and enable your child to have a balanced nutritious meal. Avoid late meals as it will prompt your child to indulge in snacks that are loaded with fat and no protein.
The above examples are some of the nutrition tips for kids. Good nutrition is important as it will help them to grow into healthy adults. The adverse effects of unhealthy food have a negative influence on physical, social, and emotional well-being. Healthy Living promotes a healthy lifestyle, and healthy growth can lead our children to grow into successful adults. For that reason, well-balanced nutrition is of paramount importance in every family.
Hope you found the article useful. Please leave your valuable thoughts in the comments!