Keep Your Kids Off Junk Food

Here in Asia, childhood obesity is not yet a serious public health concern; poor nutrition, not only because of poverty but mostly because of unhealthy food choices that are widely available, continues to be a serious concern for parents. All parents know this: children love junk food. And helping kids develop healthy eating habits is a tricky endeavor.
You can tell them over and over that junk food is not good for their body; whether they understand this or not is inconsequential. They will still prefer junk food over healthy drinks and fruits and vegetables. And the companies that make these junk food products are not with their very effective advertising strategies. Kids, with their impressionable, young minds, are very easy prey.
But as a parent, you should still exert a stronger influence over your child’s eating habits. The first and most important step is to become a good role model.
Junk food is bad. It’s a simple truth that kids and adults alike are aware of but which they nevertheless ignore. It is well-known that excessive and prolonged consumption of junk food, with its high sugar, sodium, and fat content, can lead to many serious health consequences, such as diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, and high blood pressure. Plus, junk food has very little to zero nutritional value.
On the other hand, healthy foods provide all the essential nutrients children need for their physical and mental development and to strengthen their immune system. And the fresher they are, the more flavor and nutritional value they have. For children, however, these are not enough reasons to make them choose healthy foods over junk food.
Nowadays, even Asian families have slid into the world’s hustle and bustle and a lot of moms have also taken up a working role in addition to their traditional role as a homemaker. As a result, when it comes to their children’s health and nutrition, parents find themselves giving in to their unhealthy food cravings more and more often when they can’t make or find the time to buy nutritious foods and prepare healthy meals.
The best time, of course, for parents to start training their children to be more health-conscious when it comes to the food they eat is during their early years. It is also important to start helping children develop healthy eating habits while they are young because they can develop diseases of the heart and blood vessels even at a very early age if they are on a high-fat diet.
Complete deprivation, however, is not the solution. If you deny your child a sugary treat all the time, they will only crave it more. It is okay to include some not-so-nutritious foods in their diet every now and then as long as their overall diet allows them to meet their daily nutritional requirements. As with most things, moderation is key.
Of course, it is more difficult to wean older children off junk food and as they reach their teenage years, they will most likely be more curious about different types of food, especially very unhealthy ones. This is where a strong foundation for healthy eating becomes even more important. For parents who were not able to train their child early, simply having a rational and open-minded discussion with the child often works to help them understand the importance of having a well-balanced diet. You can then create a strategy as a family to eliminate the unhealthy foods they have grown to enjoy and find nutritious substitutes.