Diets are one of the most unhealthy things teens and children can do. But eating right—by consummating healthy and nutritious food with the right portions—and exercise is the best thing your kids can do.
And yes, exercise is even encouraged for children.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, preschool-aged children (ages 3 to 5) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development.
Exercise for this age group of children improves bone health and weight status. That means even if you are a parent that is worried your child needs to diet, first try getting them to move more and start incorporating healthier meals instead of teaching them about calorie restriction.
The guidelines also found that exercises improve cognitive function for children ages 6 to 13.
And then just think about teens and diets.
About one-half of teenage girls and one-quarter of teenage boys have tried dieting to change the shape of their body.
And 33% of girls who are a healthy weight still “go on a diet.”
Most girls by the age of 10 have seen someone in their life (mom, grandmother, older sibling) dieting and may have tried a diet themselves.
Additionally, the media and our era of social media confuses young kids regarding what they should eat and how they should look and feel.
Kids Should Learn To Eat Right And Exercise
Parents need to step in and educate now more than ever!
When we were kids, we ate whatever our parents put on the table. Today, our kids are growing up in a very different time.
Schedules are busier, so family meals are less frequent and fast food runs are more frequent.
And kids are getting most of their information and self-worth on the internet and from social media.
Here is a BIG problem with children and dieting…
Kids and teenagers don’t think about long-term effects. Scientifically, their frontal lobe is not even fully developed to allow for complete understanding and reasoning when it comes to making choices. They think of the here and now. And feel a very heavy pressure to fit into society.
So, they look for a quick fix to lose weight…. Diets.
And dieting is hard.
Diets tend to deprive people of certain foods they enjoy. And this usually, eventually, leads to overeating.
Not only that, but some teens experiment with weight loss pills, laxatives, severe restriction, or vomiting after eating.
Children are still growing and they need the right amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins (macronutrients) – as well as vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. Eliminating entire food groups or severely restricting calories can lead to deficiencies and serious health concerns.
If you are looking to educate your toddler or child on fun ways to move their body, my book, Ready, Set, Run! is a great resource. It teaches that running feels like play—and it actually feels natural to do so.
It’s also great for speech and language development, teaching directional words, opposites and using repetition.
Parents looking to get healthy meal ideas for their kids can check out the follow blogs and social media accounts I love:
My Fussy Eater ( Check out this grab and go breakfasts for teens post.)
Here are some kid-tested and approved recipes that are easy to make that the whole family can enjoy!