By Dave Monahan, CSCS
As the cool temperatures move into New England for the fall season the youngsters are starting their next year of their education. Nutrition is a critical part of a youngster's brain function and it lays the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. What can parents, aunts, uncles, friends do to ensure the kids we are around are eating healthy food? Here are some tips:
- Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Avoid high amounts of sugar in cereal.
- Replace soda and chips with milk, crackers and fruit.
- Have children help prepare meals and set the table. They will be more likely to eat meals they assist creating.
- Vegetables: The brighter the better. The meals children eat should be colorful and pleasing to the eye. Kids love bright colors and may try something new if the vegetable is a color they like. And here's a tip from my own mom: mix a little bit of breadcrumbs with cut up vegetables. This added flavor makes some vegetables more appetizing.
- Eat meals in a relaxed atmosphere, enjoy each other's company, turn off TV, smart phones, and tablets. Television requires no energy, consumes time, consists of unhealthy advertising, and encourages foods that damage dental health. According to Nutrition Concepts and Controversies by Sizer and Whitney (1997) "....29 percent of the cases of (childhood) obesity could be prevented by reducing television viewing to 0-1 hours per week."
- When full STOP eating.
- Brown Bag It! Packing your kids lunch and snacks will ensure your children have healthy choices during meal times at school. If they do purchase lunch educate them on the reasons to eat healthy foods.
We all want the children we are around to be healthy and happy. We have the ultimate responsibility to be the example. We cannot ask our kids to have healthy eating habits if we are not living a healthy lifestyle. Let's turn off those devices, eat nutritious foods and enjoy the people around us.