August is Children’s Health Month and, according to a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, we have a reason to be alarmed – South African childhood obesity rates are growing faster than those in the States. Obesity amongst children is largely driven by an excess of sugar and energy dense foods – a problem highlighted by the introduction of the sugar tax, which came into effect in April this year.
“Typical child-friendly meals and beverages in South Africa are filled with processed, sugary ingredients,” says Wayne Kaminsky, dad to three teenagers and founder of ready-made meal delivery service FitChef. “Processed sugars and salts are addictive, the more a child consumes, the more they crave them. To avoid developing lifelong bad habits and illnesses, parents need to step in and guide their children’s eating habits towards healthy foods.”
Designed to give on-the-go city dwellers a wholesome and convenient meal option, FitChef launched their Smart Kids range in June this year. Delivering healthy, well-portioned child and teen meals, their kits include ready-made meals, lunch boxes, smoothies, snacks and health-conscious treats. Their chefs specialise in clean eating, which means they do not use artificial sweeteners, colourants or preservatives in any of their meal packages.
With experts issuing stern warnings about the lifelong health problems linked to childhood obesity, including diabetes‚ hypertension‚ cardiovascular and kidney diseases – the need to cut sugary, fatty foods from kids’ diets is clear. For concerned parents, Kaminsky offers up some tips:
• #JunkFreeHome: Don’t keep any junk, sugary or refined ingredients at home. If you feel like a treat, then go out and have one. It helps with keeping temptation at bay.
• Stock up: Everybody eats better when healthy options are readily available. Some kids snack options include; fruit (frozen grapes are amazing), nuts, smoothies, avos, and nut butters. If you want bread at home, rather get a nice sour dough or rye. You can pre-slice it and keep it in the freezer.
• Do it yourself: A steadfast rule is to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. If parents stop eating low GI, highly processed foods, their kids are much more likely to follow suit.
• Keep it clean: Food can be sweet and tasty without using highly processed sugars and salts. Look for naturally sweet vegetables and fruits, and flavourful whole foods wherever possible when you are buying and preparing meals.
• Shake it up: Variety is important – keeping children interested in what they are eating and introducing new ingredients to their diet is a great way to encourage them to eat well and develop a love for good food.
Those looking for a quick, convenient solution can order FitChef’s Smart Kids range online at www.fitchef.co.za, along with their regular, weight-loss and sports’ training meal kits for adults.
Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications
021 447 1082 / 060 677 6235
On behalf of FitChef:
Wayne Kaminsky, founder and CEO FitChef