Many parents today are finding it more and more difficult to give their children a healthy diet due to the fast food frenzy, mass junk food advertisement and poor availability of quality, nutrient rich foods. Overall health and wellness in adulthood is directly related to how healthy the person was as a child. That’s why good nutrition is so important in determining a child’s development.
Foods to Avoid
According to the USDA, soft drink consumption rose 182% from 1960 to 1981 and consumption of fresh apples dropped 75%. Soft drinks have an average of nine teaspoons of sugar per can and phosphoric acid, which raids the body of stored magnesium. Then of course there are fast food cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, hot dogs and french fries that children go crazy over. Fast food diets are way too high in salt, fat, trans fatty acids and sugars. Plus white flour products, artificial foods, processed meats and dairy, candy, soda and other sweets can lead to allergies, hyperactivity and other illnesses in children if eaten in excess.
So what do we feed children? We really need to get back to the basics: cook our own food and select foods that are whole and unprocessed. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day to supply fuel for physical and mental tasks throughout the day. Good examples are grained cereal (not Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks) with soy, rice or organic milk, yogurt, protein shake with fruit, or eggs, or turkey bacon.
Lunch and Snacks
For the rest of the day, it is important to eat plenty of fresh vegetables with meals and add good protein like fish, chicken, lean meat, nuts or seeds. A healthy mid-afternoon snack could be fresh fruits, raw vegetables, yogurt, whole grain crackers, non-prepared popcorn, etc… And for drinks, water, of course, is the best choice, along with orange juice and milk.
Dinner can be a great bonding time for the family. Children can help with preparing meals and setting the table. Plus eating at least one meal together a day helps with family communication and better relationships. If a big meal is prepared give everyone a small portion to begin with and if still hungry add a second helping.
I truly believe if we would slow down more and prepare on Sunday the foods we will eat for the rest of the week, we will be healthier people. It’s so easy to make ourselves so busy that the only choice we have is to stop and buy fast or processed foods. At Real Life Fitness we encourage 12 year olds and up to join with their parents to start a workout program. We also have trainers available to help you with your daily nutrition. Sometimes a kid will listen to a trainer more than their parents and we love helping families get healthy together.
Call 404-940-8085 to schedule a free nutrition consultation.