Gabriel Wilson loves to cook, eat tasty foods, and drink a glass of wine—without having to do the washing up.
Are You Making Your Kids Fat?
Before I even begin on the fat bit, I want to provide you with a little of my own personal background. The reasoning behind this is to demonstrate a wide spectrum of observance. I have worked for many years in the hospitality industry mainly hotels as a duty manager. I was a Publican in family pubs for years in England and most recently in marketing for a Portuguese chain of holiday hotels. I have met numerous nationalities especially over the last ten years and with our hot climate, I have witnessed my fair share of almost naked bodies that unfortunately are not confined to the pool or beach areas and are wildly and oddly located in and around the capital city. In other words, I have observed my fair share of people and to be rather frank I have witnessed more than I will or need to share. Let's get on shall we!
Did you know that the average moderately active 5-year-old requires 1400 to 1600 calories a day? And 10-year-olds require 1600 to 2000 a day while mid-teens will require an average 2200 calories per day. Of course this is an average guide based on moderately active children but I'm sure you know where I am coming from and in fact where I am going to with these figures. Below is an average daily menu example with an average calorie count. Water to be included of course but as a negative calorie count.
Example Daily Menu:
Breakfast: A medium bowl of Kellogg's cornflakes with full-fat milk topped with a small banana sliced = 365 calories.
Midmorning snack: 2 digestive biscuits and 1 apple = 190 calories.
Lunch: A ham and tomato sandwich on wholemeal bread (2 slices) with butter = 290 calories. An individual orange juice drink (240ml) = 110 calories. 1 small fun-sized chocolate bar (13g) = 70 calories. Total average lunch calories = 470 calories.
Afternoon snack: 1 average cuppa soup = 90 calories.
Dinner: Homemade spaghetti bolognese with cheese = 400 calories. 1 slice of garlic bread = 150 calories. Ice cream (2 scoops) with a wafer = 250 calories. Total average dinner = 800 calories.
Bedtime snack: Hot chocolate made with full-fat milk = 190 calories.
Average daily menu = 2105 calories.
I have chosen to be rather practical with my sample menu because I realise to overload on fruit, vegetables and frozen yogurt is not what this hub is about. I am simply trying to show how everyday foods even with added fruits and small bowls of ice-cream can really add up to a lot of calories.
Let it be noted to add a few slices of buttered toast with jam at breakfast a small packet of crisps at lunch, a soft drink with dinner and cookies to the bedtime hot chocolate will add hundreds of calories. And that my dear parents is your responsibility and not anyone else.
With obesity becoming the norm it is high time we all stopped blaming fast food outlets, ready-made meals and cheaply priced snack foods. All of these choices have existed for years. I mean years and years as in back in the 1940's for fast food. Busy lives contribute for sure and working parents: however, parents have been working for years too and labour saving devices are now at the helm of everyday lives. A dishwasher is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. We have every commodity to slice, dice, squeeze and blitz all kinds of foods. The kitchen today is like something out of a science fiction movie. Laundry is no longer a dirty word: one machine to wash and another to dry. And even your grocery shopping is no longer a chore with online orders delivered to our doors. Even dieting is a luxury with ready meals all prepared and calorie counted waiting to be popped in the ever ready microwave.
Perhaps it is all this physical saving in our every day lives that is the culprit. With so much less to do have we gotten lazy hence no desire to cook a family meal. Let's stop blaming work: most of us adults will work a five day week averaging forty hours; sleep an averaging fifty hours. What are you doing with the remaining 78 hours? According to The World Health Organisation 24.9% of British people are certainly not in the gym, this % refers to obese people while 62% accounts for overweight people. I have used Britain as an example being one of the fattest Europeans simply because I lived and worked there for almost ten years so have experienced this myself. Please don't debate, google it: there are so many solid health organisations consistently reporting the state of obesity in Europe. It is mind-boggling.
Back to you and your fat kids: who is to blame? There is one answer here and it is you, the parents. I'm not saying that you don't have every excuse under the sun to blame the cheap fish and chip shop down the road or the Indian that delivers free and adds a few beers nor the ready meals that line the supermarket shelf and the family bag of crisps that's cheaper than the smaller bag. Funny though, it is you! You make the choice and you feed your kids. Let's face it: a fat family isn't spending time in the gym, walking the dog, going swimming or training for the next mini-marathon, so what are you doing?
Being fat is unhealthy, a proven fact. Being obese is a huge strain on your body, a living death sentence, proven fact. What is that you don't see? Why risk your child's life by feeding them the wrong kind of foods?
- no time
- can't cook
- no money
- all arrive home at different times
- too tired
- It can take up to half an hour or more to receive take out, no excuse: pan-fried chicken breasts, chipped potatoes and buttered carrots would take less time.
- Buy a cookbook or take a class or better still watch a few cook programs, the TV is full of cook programs: no excuse.
- How much does a take away cost? Last time I had Chinese for two (and there was two of us) it was 25 pounds. Ready meals average four pounds. A roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings wouldn't cost eight pounds and leftovers mean tomorrows dinner is free.
- Do you have a microwave or an oven? Warm it through then!
- Being overweight saps your energy. Time to face facts! Time to lose weight!
Keep it Simple: My Number One Rule
The realisation that you and you alone are responsible for what your kid eats might seem a tad tough even unfair but as long as you stay in denial the fatter your family are going to get. I've been straight and dealt you a hard blow now its time for a little perspective. How can you change the way your family eats: keep it simple, that's how.
- Chose naturally low fat, low sugar cereals like Weetabix or cornflakes during the school week and let them have their favourite cereal at the weekend.
- Add easy to eat fruit to their lunch box: grapes; bananas; apples; pears; peaches.
- Buy snack-size chocolate bars for their lunch box.
- Have healthy pre-dinner snacks for your kids to eat after school that won't ruin their appetite: fruit yogurts; fruit and oatmeal bars; natural (no added sugars) peanut butter with vegetable and/or fruit sticks or wholemeal crackers; individual soft cheese pots with twig-lets; homemade fruit ice pops; popcorn; vegetable crisps; pit-less olives with a hard-boiled egg; hummus and carrot sticks to name but a few samples.
- Make double main meal portions and freeze half for an easy midweek dinner: Bolognese meat sauce; shepherd's pie; lasagne; meatballs; chili etc.
- Chose lean cuts of red meat, eat more chicken, turkey and fish.
- Serve interesting vegetable side dishes: broccoli bake; cauliflower cheese; carrot sticks cooked with fresh orange slices; pease with mint; mangetout; pureed parsnips; roasted peppers; roasted pumpkin; sautéed courgettes; mashed potatoes with chives to name a few ideas.
- Add fruit to main meals: applesauce with pork; pineapple slices with steak or gammon; orange with chicken; pear with lamb etc.
- Keep the soft drinks for the weekend.
- Dessert should be simple: a small scoop of ice cream with fruit; homemade fruit ice pop; no sugar jelly; a pancake with a little syrup; a small chocolate pot.
- Bedtime snacks should be light: hot chocolate; warm milk; plain yogurt; oatmeal cookies etc.
- Keep treats for the weekend but don't overdo it. And takeaways really are a once/twice a month type of treat. Make your own pizzas, tortilla wraps and curries. Involve your kids in meal times. Get them to help!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Gabriel Wilson
Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on June 06, 2018:
Hi Liz. It's important to teach our kids the reasoning behind being healthy and active. It's not always easy but every effort you make is worth it. Yogurt and fruit do get boring after a bit, thats for sure :) We can only try.
Liz Westwood from UK on June 05, 2018:
This is a very topical, well-written and interesting article. It's much easier to put the weight on than to take it off! There are some great healthy nutrition tips here, which can be applied to adults as well as kids. My children got fed up with fruit or yogurt for dessert, but I felt better about them being healthier.
Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on June 04, 2018:
You are right about the electronics, too much of anything is not good. Actually your comments are spot on. Thanks Eric.
Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on June 04, 2018:
Yes, that's true grandparents are also at fault. I believe fast food restaurants don't deserve the blame though. I will admit to enjoying the odd burger and my daughter too, but it's maybe 4 or 5 times a year.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 04, 2018:
I appreciate this. And kids with fat children should take it to heart.
I am more aligned with the notion that electronics should be limited to 30 minutes a day. No sodas or candy, limitation on processed foods. 2 real hours of outside hard activity.
My 8 year old is starting to show off his pectorals and abs. (no they really have not formed yet)
And above all no fat parent -- which I fail but work hard at, and he sees that.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on June 04, 2018:
Besides the fast food restaurants, I agree it is the grandparents and parents fault