Today, it seems people are more concerned that their cows and chickens are “Free Range” vs children. The other day, i had a client say that he was a “Free Range Kid” He grew up running around and playing all day long in the summertime. I remember the same. We came in for lunch and something to drink, and went back outside to play.
Today, lots of children spend their time in front of a screen – TV, Computer, I-Pad or a Cell phone – you name it, their inside, looking at a screen. Unfortunately, they are a captive audience to food and snack advertisements. The more fast food, snack or cereal advertisements they see, the more they want them.
In terms of TV and Electronic Devices, here are a few suggestions to minimize your children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren from becoming targeted by food companies so that you can promote healthier eating:
- Avoid watching TV or using Electronic Devices while eating. As a family, agree to not watch TV or use any electronic device during meals or while snacking. Eating together regularly without distractions offers the opportunity to promote healthful, intuitive and mindful eating. Mealtime is a great time to make conversation about the day, upcoming events or concerns.
- Watch TV without advertisements. Consider buying or renting children’s DVD, download Amazon or Netflix movies to avoid commercials. Pre-record favorite programs (TIVO) in order to fast forward through commercials.
- Spend time together learning about foods. Try growing a garden, visit a farmer’s market, go apple or berry picking, or browse the produce section at the grocery store. Teach children how to read the % Daily Value on the Nutrition Facts Label as a way to choose healthier foods easily.
- Let kids help in the kitchen. Most young children want to learn and help out in the kitchen. This is a great time to introduce food safety, such as washing hands before handling food. Assign simple tasks, like setting the table, washing fruits and veggies or tearing lettuce leaves for a salad.
- Set limits around screen time. Children of all ages are spending more time in front of TV and other electronic devices. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one hour per day of screen time for children 2 to 5 years old and recommends a family media plan for school-age children.The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends at least one-hour per day of physical activity.
- Be a good role model. Children and teens learn by observing others. As a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent or caregiver, you can make healthier foods and beverage choices, plan meals, exercise and limit the use of electronic devices to reinforce the healthy habits you are trying to encourage.