The Growing up in Ireland survey found that shockingly 1 in 4 primary school children are overweight or obese. Having weight issues is no fun as a child
It can lead to them being bullied, having lower self esteem and they are more prone to developing long term health issues like diabetes and heart disease. Often weight problems in children persists throughout their whole lives. Staying a healthy weight is all about balance. One practical step that you can take is to watch out for portion sizes at mealtime.
Remember your child does not need the same amount of food that we do. Practical tips for making sure portions are ‘child-sized’.
Serve the food at the table and give everyone a small amount to start with, if they want more encourage them to ask – but never fill the plate
In between meals if your kids say they are hungry on offer them nutritious snacks like fruit or chopped vegetables (raw carrot is handy)
Try to discourage snacking and grazing often kids are doing this because they are bored or thirsty!
Although we were all encouraged to clear our plates, allow your child to say when they feel they have had ‘enough’
Use plates that match their sizes
The rule of ‘thirds’ applies! – all plates should have about a third fruit and veg, a third starchy food like potatoes or pasta and a third protein meat and/ or dairy foods
Over the years the portion sizes have skyrocketed. On the whole we do less activity than our ‘ancestors’ so our portions at mealtimes if anything should have got smaller. It’s all about eating smart and moving more!
To order or download the handy booklet Eat Smart Move More, go to www.healthpromotion.ie . For more information or for more information on diet and nutrition, please contact: The Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster Tel: (044) 9395518 or email firstname.lastname@example.org