Give kids good eating habits

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology wants children to move more and sit less, essentially, so they won’t become fat.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology wants children to move more and sit less, essentially, so they won’t become fat.

The group wants them to grow up healthy and last week released what it says are the first guidelines for the ‘early years’ (see www.csep.ca). Not surprisingly, the society calls for less screen time — less time on TV, laptops, iPads and smart phones.

No doubt kids today spend a lot of time staring at such screens — watching videos, playing games, browsing and texting. But many are also active — walking to and from school, playing sports, taking part in track and field, martial arts or dance. They ride bikes, run and skateboard.

Still, many are overweight.

The main reason isn’t so much screen time as what they put into their bodies: sugar and fat. And it’s not just pizza and pop, hamburgers, chips or cookies.

So-called sport drinks can contain as much sugar as a slushee. Specialty coffees and hot chocolate are loaded with calories.

We consume such products despite healthy eating programs devised and promoted by the provincial and federal governments, even though we know better. We do so out of convenience and because many items that aren’t healthy taste good.

So have a little, not a lot — and not often. Buy more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Grow lettuce and berries in pots on your deck or hit up plentiful farmers’ markets that crop up around the Capital Region over the summer and fall.

Cook and eat together, as a family, even if only once or twice a week. It’s a good habit to get into. And try to set a good example for your kids.

Children will only emulate parents who veg in front of the TV or who are constantly fiddling with a smart phone.

With good role models, hopefully youth will develop the healthy eating habits for life.