Welcome to Moms Talk Q&A. Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.
Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.
Question: "With childhood obesity getting major publicity in the media, what are your thoughts on keeping kids healthy? "
My children are both very well porportioned, aside from when they were born as large babies and were off the charts chubby as infants (which was magically cured when they started walking!) We have never had to watch out for obesity issues with them, and for this I am grateful. With that said, we have a pretty healthy lifestyle and the kids eat fairly well-balanced meals.
I think it's very important to keep kids healthy. In this day, the kids play so many video games and even study much harder; they need to get out and move more! The amount of junk food available in schools is getting better but still has a long way to go.
Childhood obesity is a huge problem in our country. When a child is overweight, there’s a good chance they will have weight issues their entire lives – who wants their child to have to go through that? They will have enough obstacles to overcome throughout their life, its important we don’t add more with the obvious social and health risks that comes with being an overweight child. As parents, I believe it is our job to teach our children, healthy eating habits that they will carry with them throughout their lives.
Question: "Is fast food part of your kids' diets?"
I DO allow my children to have fast-food from time to time, but we try not to make it a frequent habit and if possible, we try and make good choices while at fast food places (like apple dippers instead of fries etc.) I honestly wish that there were more healthy choices for quick, inexpensive meals on the go!
Sadly it was a part of my biological childrens' lives. At that time I was on a limited income and sadly-- when you are poor you can't afford to eat well, fast food was a staple. Somehow my kids managed to be healthy eaters anyway. Now my youngest daughter loves fresh fruits and vegetables and prefers not having any junk food in the house. For my foster children I offered and encouraged much healthier foods. My toddler never asks for sweets (unless he sees them.) He asks for oranges, strawberries, salad etc. He eats most anything I give him. His daycare provider even feeds him sardines! He doesn't eat any junk food and oddly enough we ate McDonald's tonight, but we never do. Less than once a month- more like once every other month.
My son does not eat fast food very often, although I can't say he has never had a happy meal, or the occasional quick dinner of frozen chicken nuggets. I think in moderation its fine, so long as you stress the importance of eating healthy well-balanced meals.
Question: "How do you encourage your kids to make healthy eating choices?"
I think because we have never forced the kids to eat certain "healthy" foods, nor have we totally banned other "junk" foods, we don't have too many food struggles. We just never made meal time all that intense or controlled. We think meals should be pleasant and enjoyable and not battlegrounds for forcing food down. Fortunately, our kids like a LOT of fruits and veggies and we just don't have an issue mixing those into our diets. We do restrict caffeine in our family, for obvious reasons. As a result, this IS something they desire when it's around, and we have allowed them an occasional small amount, but have pretty much convinced them that their growing bodies are NOT happy when they consume that type of beverage. It's simply not a healthy choice for them to grow big and strong, is what we tell them. Good dialogue about food and drink is important. They will listen!
By providing many choices and colorful foods. I no longer offer anything unhealthy and then it's not asked for!
My really good eater has recently turned into a slightly picky one. He has always ate pretty much anything put in front of him, but lately he wont touch any vegetables, besides potatoes. I know this is pretty common for kids his age, so I don’t make too much of a big deal out of it. I encourage him to eat healthy foods, by simply providing healthy choices. He loves fruit- nature's candy! I also find he will sometimes eat his vegetables if I feed him soup, or if I mix them into his pasta sauce, for example.
Question: "What are your thoughts on children getting exercise/staying active?"
Our children play (way too many) sports so we don't have too much trouble encouraging activity. I find it hilarious though, my kids will come home from a busy day at school talking about intense games of kickball etc at recess and gym, and then go straight outside to ride bikes, rollerblade, play street hockey or scooter, all before heading off to some sporting event or practice! Sometimes I actually have to tell them to stop and take a few minutes to let their bodies REST. I think for parents whose children have no interest in sports, simply getting outdoors to take a walk or to play at the park can jump start a good level of activity!
It's a must! Children need to be sent out to play! Remember when we were kids and that is all we did? We went out and came back in when the street lights were on. Kids should be encouraged to try every sport. Even if you have a kid that doesn't like sports, families can walk together, bike together etc. It's a must nowadays. If they grow up living healthy they will more than likely continue to live like that as adults.
My son is 19 months and I would pay to have half his energy. He is extremely active, and we always make time to run, jump, and dance! We spend a lot of time outdoors, running in the backyard, playing ball in the driveway or going for walks. When he gets older, I will encourage exercise by signing him up for extracurricular activities, such as sports or karate. I will also make sure he knows how important exercise and staying active is to his health and well being.