3 Mistakes Parents Make With Their Kids Health and Fitness

As a youth fitness and performance coach as well as a personal trainer in Singapore, I see many kids and youth athletes each year. I also meet their parents so that we can work together to get the best possible results for the kids. Here are 3 common mistakes that parents commonly make when trying to maximize their child’s growth and future health.

Too little activity

Over the past 10 years working as a personal trainer and sports performance coach in Singapore, I have found that the most challenging clients to work with are those who did not do much physical activity in their youth. Your child’s coordination is developed before the age of 12 and if it is not done, it will never be. However I see too many children whose parents either don’t know or don’t care for physical education or activity. These children end up being poor at physical tasks, less likely to enjoy them and less likely to do well in them and carry them on to adulthood. Not encouraging physical activity in your child is a good way to make him or her a fat, obese and unhealthy adult.

Specialization Too Early

At the other extreme are parents who want their 8 year old to be the next swimming, badminton, basketball or whatever sport’s world champion. There is no relationship between excellence at 8 years old and becoming a world class athlete.

The mistake parents are making here is sport specialization too early. Before the age of 12 kids should play every possible sport. I like gymnastics because it teaches a lot of coordination. But a large variety should be encouraged. Kids who have a “wide” base of sports skills end up being the best at whichever sport they choose to specialize in future. Early specialization leads to long term mediocrity.

Poor Nutrition

Parents need to take control of their kids nutrition. There are too many advertisements telling parents to buy cereals, juices and breads for their kids to give them energy. Those food companies just want your money. These foods do NOT maximize your child’s potential.

Children need more nutritious food like fruits (not juices), fish, meat, vegetables, nuts as well as natural starches like pumpkins, yams and sweet potatoes. Children who eat these foods are less likely to have attention deficit disorder, concentrate better in class, have less mood swings and are more socially adaptable.

Get your kids in shape with these basics and see them excel in the future!

Coach Jonathan Wong, is a sought after Singapore personal trainer and performance expert who has helped hundreds of clients in Singapore from regular folk to national level athletes achieve their fitness, fat loss and sports performance goals regardless of starting age, fitness level or experience.

Three Benefits of Juicing For Your Kids Health

I am not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. But I do think January is a great time to set goals to make realistic, positive changes toward changes you want to make in your life.

This year, I kept it simple.

So my goal for this year is to get more raw fruits and veggies into my kids over the winter months-in a way they will actually like. And I don’t mean the kind that is crushed up and put in a tablet. I mean the kind you get from the fresh produce section in the grocery store, take home and put directly into your body. I am a firm believer that fresh fruit and vegetables that are in their natural state in which Mother Nature made them, provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals and have much more to offer, than a powdered capsule or man-made tablet, no matter what the label claims.

Sounds easy…but how do we get our kids to agree?

For my family, the answer juicing. Juicing gets a whack of wholefood nutrition into kids growing bodies and there are endless combinations so it never gets boring. Nothing compares to amount of raw nutrition you get from a glass of freshly squeezed glass of juice.

Here are the main benefits of juicing for your kids:

1. Juicing can be a fun, bonding time for you and your kids. Let your kids stand on chairs and help push the veggies through the machine. When you’re done, the juice is more of an accomplishment than a drink and they will gulp in down proudly. Note: The dreaded cleanup (which actually only takes about 10min) is well worth the work for the amount of nutrition your kids will consume.

2. If your kids aren’t big veggie eaters, juicing provides a means to get those raw nutrients into them and take away your guilt if they don’t eat their beans with dinner. Raw fruit and vegetable are MUCH more nutritious than cooked ones so mama will be happy. And isn’t it true that when mama is happy, everyone is happy!

3. There are many good juicers to choose from-we happen to have a Champion, which allows us to make ice cream after dinner. We simply put frozen berries and bananas through and out comes the most delicious and natural ice cream in the world-pure raw fruit in a bowl. The kids think it’s a treat and I love being able to say (guilt free) “Who wants ICE CREAM?!” Sometimes we even add a little ‘chocolate’ sauce. (raw cacao and agave syrup) David Wolfe, who is one of the leading authorities on raw food and juicing, has a website where he recommends several different juicers.

What are your goals for keeping your family healthy this year? I recommend juicing because it’s fun, it takes away some of your guilt as a mother, and it can provide nutrition camouflaged as treats for your kids.

Kids Health: Parenting Tips

Kids’ health is one of the major problems faced by almost all parents around the world. In most part of the western countries, obesity and over weight problem is causing serious worries to the parents and as well as to the government. Both these problems needs to be controlled at early stages of life; so that future of your kids will be safe and secure from various diseases.

Due to various types of junk foods, such as bakery products, fast food and oily stuffs, health of your child is affected. These unhealthy foodstuffs lead to lack of concentration in school and other learning aspects of social skills. So proper attention towards the health of your kid is needs to be provided by parents and healthy food with sufficient calories must be monitored along with regular exercises and daily workouts. Here are some of the guidelines that will help parents to look after their kids properly.

Carry out regular check up of your kid from family doctor and provide healthy diet to the kid as prescribed by the doctor.

Motivate kids for regular and simple exercises such as walking, daily warm up and if possible swimming.

Most of the parents do not get time to look after their kids and normally kids are on the mercy of the maidservants. This should not happen and regular attention must be provided to the kids so that they are well nourished.Due to various facilities of entertainments such as television, computers, movies and various cartoon channels, normally kids don’t get sufficient time to carry out exercises. Thus, yoga is another alternative that can help in reducing extra weight along with improving strength and body coordination.

Avoid providing junk foods, bakery products, chocolates, oily foodstuffs and unhealthy food to the kids. Balanced diet is must be provided to the kids to get rid of avoidable diseases such as obesity and overweight disorders. Healthy eating habits help kids in physical and mental development. So fix proper timing of meals and restrict untimely snacks and various foodstuffs that are of low calorie.

At least once in a day, have meals with kids and tell them the benefits of balanced healthy diet and advice them to stay away from junk food. In most of the cases, it is found that kids follow the habits of parents so it is better that parents should first change their unhealthy eating habits and carry out regular exercises along with kids. This will help kids as well as parents to look after their own health and in turn eliminate chances of obesity and overweight.

Parents Are Going Green For Kids Health!

Parents want the best for their kids. This includes a liveable planet for future generations. That is why parents are going green for kids health. There are a lot of little steps you can take to minimize your carbon footprint, and to teach your children about the environment.

The four key areas you want to check your ‘green’ to ensure the best for the environment and your families health are: -water efficiency -energy efficiency -product selection -waste management. We are lucky to live in a country rich in natural resources, including water. Ways you can save and protect our water are:

1. Water Efficiency:

  • Turn taps off tightly after use so they don’t drip. Do not leave water running while you brush your teeth, do dishes, clean, etc.
  • Use any leftover water from plastic water bottles to water your plants, put in the pet’s water dish, etc.
  • Buy bio-degradable soaps, shower gels and laundry detergent. If you have a high-efficiency washing machine, buy HE (high-efficiency) detergent since it requires less water to rinse.
  • Watch what goes down the drain. Do not put harmful chemicals (found in some household cleaners, paints, solvents, pesticides, etc.) down the drain where they can harm our water systems.
  • Do not use the drain as a garbage can to put cigarette butts, paper tissues, hair, etc. Teach your kids to follow your example.

2. Energy Efficiency helps the environment and lowers your electric bill. Here are some easy to follow tips:

  • Replace old, power guzzling appliances with energy efficient ones. Look for the Energy Star label. Check for rebates and programs from your local government.
  • Buy energy efficient light bulbs for the house. Compact fluorescent bulbs are 75% more efficient than conventional bulbs.
  • Turn lights and appliances off when not in use. Computers, TV’s, stereos, and video game units still draw power when they are turned off. A power strip makes it easy to turn off several devices at once and stops them from drawing current. Don’t leave your cell phone charging longer than it needs to.
  • Get solar lighting products -especially good for outdoor lighting since you don’t have to worry about power cords.
  • Do not automatically reach for the car keys anytime someone has to go somewhere. Look for alternatives – like walking or biking, or even carpooling.
  • Check your home for drafts and seal them up. Make sure your home has adequate insulation everywhere – the attic, basements, floors, walls, etc. Your house will be more efficient and comfortable, and you will see lower bills for heating and cooling.

3. Product Selection:

  • Not all products are created equally. Look for green materials, products made with recycled materials, and bio-degradable products.
  • Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones that can leak toxins into the earth. Choose green and bio cleaning products over harsh chemicals. (See our article on using products like vinegar and baking soda to clean your house).
  • Replace the chemical pesticides you use for plants, lawn and garden with non-toxic alternatives.
  • Buy bags that you can reuse time and again for groceries and shopping.
  • Use reusable containers and water bottles for lunches and on-the-go.

4. Waste Management:

  • Reuse, recycle, renew whenever possible. Get green and blue bins from your city to put the least amount of trash in landfills.
  • Organize a neighbourhood cleanup -get everyone to pitch in to clean up parks and walkways. Make an event out of it or even a fundraiser. Have prizes or accolades for ones that fill the most garbage bags.
  • Look for creative ways to reuse items instead of throwing them away. Some items could be used for storing things, for crafts, for decorations (garbage art is in!)
  • Look for the recycle codes on products. Plastics that can be reused are those labelled 2, 4 or 5. Plastics labelled 1, 3, 6, and 7 should only be used one time and then recycled.

Kids’ Health and Fitness Is Important

Parents have a lot of responsibilities to their children. They have to provide food, shelter, clothing and love. In addition, they have to teach manners, how to tie shoes and how to use the potty. While parents do have a lot on their plates, they can’t forget the importance of teaching their kids health and fitness.

It’s very important that children learn at a young age about healthy eating and exercise. If they learn to love fruits and vegetables and enjoy being active as children, it will really help them the rest of their lives.

It can be easy for parents to get caught up in other things that they don’t think about health and fitness. With work, errands, cooking, cleaning and just taking care of a child’s need, it can seem that there is no time to devote to exercise or think about what kids are eating. After all, it’s quicker to give your kids a processed snack or pick up fast food than it is to prepare a healthy snack or lunch.

Parents can use many excuses for not doing the right things. They’re too busy, too tired, or they just don’t know what to do or how to change. You can always find an excuse for not doing something. At some point, you just have to come to the realization that it’s important and you have to find a way to make it happen.

Childhood obesity is a major problem and it’s because too many parents make excuses. They don’t take responsibility for their child’s health. The easy route is to let your kids watch as much TV as they want. But the best thing for them is to make them turn of the TV and do something active. The same is often true for food.

First, parents should start educating themselves about health and fitness. Purchase more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds and stop buying a lot of processed snacks. Take 30 minutes out of your day to participate in some fun kids exercises with your children. If you do it with them, they are more likely to join in.

Teaching your kids about health and fitness is a conscious choice. It takes effort, but in the end it is well worth it. Show your kids that being healthy will help them feel better and live a long, happy life. As a parent, that is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

Remember that the reason to learn about health and fitness for kids is to give you skills and knowledge necessary to help your children become the healthiest people they can be. Download a free report with tips and instructions you need to get started quickly with fitness by visiting Kids Exercise and learn how to have fun while playing exercise games.

Choosing Healthy Snacks for Kids

While meals make up the majority of a child’s nutritional intake, most children eat at least one snack per day. While many of the most commonly offered kids’ snacks tend to be of lower nutritional value than meals, snacks still can support—or even enhance—your child’s overall healthy eating plan. Here’s how:

  • Use snack times as a way to increase fruits and vegetable intake. Most kids do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Snack times offer a great opportunity to increase access and exposure to these nutrient-dense foods. Consider pairing them up with dairy products or dairy substitutes (such as grapes and cheese) lean proteins (such as celery and peanut butter), or whole-grain cereals and bread (such as banana sandwich on whole grain bread).
  • Keep a range of healthy foods handy at home. It is much easier to make easy, healthy snacks when you keep a few key items stocked at home. Ideas include different types of raw vegetables and fruit, yogurt dip, hummus, and cheese sticks.
  • Avoid processed foods and added sugars. Processed foods (made in a factory and sold in bags and boxes) do not have many nutrients and often have a lot of added sugar and salt. In addition, children may become hungry faster after eating processed foods. See Snacks & Sugary Foods in School: AAP Policy Explained for more information.
  • Teach your children to eat a rainbow of colors. Arrange your children’s foods to show the beauty of fresh, brightly colored foods. Talk about the farms where food comes from and the farmers who help grow it.

Childhood Nutrition

Nearly 1 in 3 children in America is overweight or obese. Despite all the focus on kids being overweight and obese, many parents are still confused, especially when it comes to what kids eat. How much does your child need? Is he getting enough calcium? Enough iron? Too much fat?

Whether you have a toddler or a teen, nutrition is important to his or her physical and mental development. Here’s what children need — no matter what the age.

Babies

During this stage of life, it’s almost all about the milk — whether it’s breast milk, formula, or a combination of the two. Breast milk or formula will provide practically every nutrient a baby needs for the first year of life.

  • At about six months most babies are ready to start solid foods like iron-fortified infant cereal and strained fruits, vegetables, and pureed meats. Because breast milk may not provide enough iron and zinc when babies are around six to nine months, fortified cereals and meats can help breastfed babies in particular.
  • Once you do start adding foods, don’t go low-fat crazy. Although the AAP guidelines state fat restriction in some babies is appropriate, in general, you don’t want to restrict fats under age two because a healthy amount of fat is important for babies’ brain and nerve development.

Toddlers & Preschoolers

Toddlers and preschoolers grow in spurts and their appetites come and go in spurts, so they may eat a whole lot one day and then hardly anything the next. It’s normal, and as long as you offer them a healthy selection, they will get what they need.

  • Calcium, the body’s building block, is needed to develop strong, healthy bones and teeth. Children may not believe or care that milk “does a body good,” but it is the best source of much-needed calcium. Still, there’s hope for the milk-allergic, lactose-intolerant, or those who just don’t like milk. Lactose-free milk, soy milk, tofu, sardines, and calcium-fortified orange juices, cereals, waffles, and oatmeal are some calcium-filled options. In some cases, pediatricians may recommend calcium supplements.
  • Fiber is another important focus. Toddlers start to say “no” more and preschoolers can be especially opinionated about what they eat. The kids may want to stick to the bland, beige, starchy diet (think chicken nuggets, fries, macaroni), but this is really the time to encourage fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, which all provide fiber. Not only does fiber prevent heart disease and other conditions, but it also helps aid digestion and prevents constipation, something you and your child will be thankful for.

Gradeschoolers

It isn’t uncommon for a 6- or 7-year-old to suddenly decide to be a vegetarian once they understand animals and where food comes from. This doesn’t mean your child won’t get enough protein; animal tissue isn’t the only place we get protein. Rice, beans, eggs, milk, and peanut butter all have protein. So whether your child goes “no-meat” for a week or for life, he or she will likely still get sufficient amounts of protein.

Areas that might be a little too sufficient are sugars, fats, and sodium.

  • This is a time when kids first go to school and have a little bit more choices in what they eat, especially if they’re getting it in the cafeteria themselves. Cakes, candy, chips, and other snacks might become lunchtime staples.
  • The body needs carbs (sugars), fats, and sodium, but should be eaten in moderation, as too much can lead to unneeded weight gain and other health problems.
  • Packing your child’s lunch or going over the lunch menu and encouraging him or her to select healthier choices can help keep things on track.

Preteens & Teens

As puberty kicks in, young people need more calories to support the many changes they will experience. Unfortunately, for some, those extra calories come from fast food or “junk” foods with little nutritional value.

  • Some adolescents go the opposite way and restrict calories, fats, or carbs. Adolescence is the time kids start to become conscious of their weight and body image, which, for some, can lead to eating disorders or other unhealthy behaviors. Parents should be aware of changes in their child’s eating patterns and make family dinners a priority at least once or twice a week.
  • Like calories, calcium requirements are higher. Calcium is more important than ever during the tween and teen years because the majority of bone mass is built during this time. Encouraging kids to have milk, milk products, or calcium-rich alternatives, should help them get more calcium.
  • Your child’s gender may play a role in whether he or she needs more of a particular nutrient. For instance, teen girls need more iron than their male counterparts to replace what’s lost during menstruation, and males need slightly more protein than girls.

Although getting your child to eat healthy — regardless of his or her age — can be a constant battle, its one well worth fighting. A healthy child becomes a healthy adult, and only with your support and guidance will your child be both.

Water: Drink Up!

Water makes up more than half of kids’ body weight and is needed to keep all parts of the body functioning properly.

  • There’s no specific amount of water recommended for children, but it’s a good idea to give them water throughout the day — not just when they’re thirsty.
  • Babies generally don’t need water during the first year of life.
  • If your child doesn’t like the taste of water, add a bit of lemon or lime for flavor.
  • Fruits and veggies are also good sources of water.
  • Kids should drink more water when ill, when it’s hot out, or when engaged in physical activity.

5 Great Reasons to Cook with Your Kids

When it comes to raising an adventurous eater, it is not just about coaxing kids to eat their veggies. Bringing up a child who can enjoy a cantaloupe as much as a cupcake takes patience and persistence, but it does not have to feel like a chore.

Kids may need to have frequent joyful experiences involving food to overcome the anxiety they may have around tasting the unfamiliar. Over time, cooking with your children can help build that confidence—and provide rich sensory experiences.

Here are five ways to enjoy cooking with your children while raising an adventurous eater along the way.

  1. Engage other senses. For a hesitant eater, tasting an unfamiliar food can sometimes be intimidating. You can help your child explore foods when cooking using other senses besides taste. This helps to build positive associations with food. Kneading dough, rinsing vegetables, and tearing lettuce all involve touching food and being comfortable with texture. The complex flavors we experience when eating food come from both taste sensations from the tongue AND smelling with the nose. While cooking with new ingredients, some children may feel too overwhelmed to taste. If this happens, you can try suggesting smelling a food first; this may provide a bridge to tasting in the future.
  2. Use cooking to raise smart kids. There are so many lessons that can be taught while cooking. Math concepts like counting, measurement, and fractions naturally unfold when navigating a recipe with kids. Explaining how food changes with temperature or how certain foods can help our body be healthy provide great lessons in science. While cooking with your child, practice new vocabulary as you describe how food looks, feels, and tastes. Following a recipe from start to finish helps build the skills for planning and completing projects.
  3. Make cooking part of the family culture. The family meal can start in the kitchen as you cook together. Family meal preparation is an opportunity to celebrate your cultural heritage by passing down recipes. Help your kids find new, seasonal recipes to add to your repertoire and family cookbook. Cooking together and prioritizing health over the convenience of processed food are great ways to lead by example and help your children buy into a culture of wellness. Building daily and seasonal traditions around cooking together helps strengthen your family’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Keep it safe. Teach kids the importance of staying safe while cooking by showing them how to hold kitchen tools safely, how to use oven mitts to protect hands from heat, and  how to turn appliances on and off safely. Always supervise children when cooking to ensure they are sticking with safe and age-appropriate tasks. The best way to keep cooking safe is to know your child’s abilities and his or her stage of development. A four-year-old child, for example, may not be ready to sauté vegetables over a hot pan, but may have the fine motor skills to rinse fruits or tear salad leaves. Keeping safety in mind, it is not difficult to get kids—even toddlers—involved in the kitchen.
  5. Ask for input. Children feel more included in mealtime when they are asked to be a part of meal preparation. Collaborate with your kids when selecting recipes for main dishes or sides. Let them help you make the shopping list and find groceries in the store or farmers market. When cooking together, let children offer a critique of the foods you are preparing. Together you can decide what ingredients you should add to enhance the flavor. Talk about how people enjoy different tastes, and share your preferences with each other. Letting children be “in charge” of details like how to set the table will help them feel invested in mealtime.