September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. According to the CDC, about 1 out of every 5 children in the US are obese. Children who have obesity are more than likely to become obese adults and will develop chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and other health ailments.
Parents, you are what you eat and do. Your children are watching and developing the same eating/exercise habits as you are whether they are good or bad. Now is the time to break generational curses of bad eating and exercise habits over your families. Some chronic illnesses are hereditary, but a lot of them are preventable.
Here are a few of my tips to help get you moving in the right direction for your families:
•Start making small changes by incorporating more fresh fruit and veggies into their nutrition plan. Introduce them to a new fruit or vegetable weekly.
•Opt for preparing foods baked, broiled or grilled instead of fried.
•Slowly incorporate more whole grains while eliminating the starchy white foods.
•Eliminate the boxed processed foods, canned goods, Ramen noodles, tv dinners, frozen chicken nuggets, french fries, and microwaveable meals. Cooking fresh is always best. No additives or preservatives.
•Make sure they’re getting a well balanced and portioned meal of a lean protein, carb, non starchy vegetable and a healthy fat at dinner.
•They are getting an adequate amount of sleep each night so they can perform well during the school day.
•Ditch the juice boxes that are high in sugar. Make sure they are getting their daily recommendation of water and milk.
•Prepare them a well balanced breakfast to jumpstart their day. Pushed for time…Granola bar and a piece of fruit instead of a pop tart or flaming cheetos. Oatmeal instead of a sugary cereal. You get the point.
•Substitute the chips, cookies etc for nutrient dense foods that are not high in sugar, solid fats and calories for items such as fresh fruit, veggies, a sandwich on whole grain bread with low sodium meat (if processed…natural with no antibiotics is best) natural peanut butter, yogurt etc for after school snacks and in their lunches.
•Cut down the tv/video game/smart phone time and take a walk with them in your neighborhood or go to the park as a family for 30 mins a day. Involve them in extracurricular activities that will help keep them moving.
•If eating out, opt for a healthier kid’s meal option. Fruit instead of fries. Baked instead of fried. 100% juice, water or milk instead of soft drinks, lemonade, or fruit punch.
•Cook with your kids by educating them about proper nutrition and the importance of eating together as a family.