STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME TODAY’S PITFALLS IN FAMILY NUTRITION.
By Karina Jakubowicz
Are we preparing our kids for life?
I think that we are more focused on getting kids ready for college instead of preparing them for life.
Nutritionists and educators are beginning to realize that the lack of basic life skills, such as cooking, presents a serious problem:
Americans are growing up ignorant about the “whats, whys and hows” of eating healthy.
I believe this has a direct link to the obesity epidemic. Since 1980, the rate of obesity in children ages 2 to 19 has tripled.
We will win the battle against obesity by educating our children and implementing these no-fuss strategies to overcome today’s pitfalls in family nutrition
Prevention is more powerful than treatment, but it is difficult when our education system is not teaching children how to prepare fresh food. Every child, either girl or boy, should have those skills, but many don’t grow up in an environment where there is someone to teach or model them.
Definitely, change will happen when parents demand it. When mothers such as me begin to realize we lost out on something important and demand that our kids received the education we missed.
We will win the battle against obesity by educating our children and implementing these no-fuss strategies to overcome today’s pitfalls in family nutrition:
COMMIT TO A SIT-DOWN MEAL MOST DAYS OF THE WEEK.
Researchers found that adolescents that ate often with their family were less prone to use cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.
Don’t overlook breakfast as a potential family time as well. Kids that eat a well balanced breakfast do better in school, have improved vitamin and mineral intake and are more likely to maintain a healthy body weight.
When children are repeatedly presented with the same foods, they don’t learn to appreciate new flavors and textures, which reinforces picky-plate and fear of unfamiliar dishes. Once a week, have a new-food-of-the-week meal, featuring healthy ingredients such quinoa, lean bison or kale. Don’t throw in the towel if your child emphatically refuses it at the start. Also let kids loose in the produce department to pick a new fresh item they are curious about, and then involving them in its preparation, so they are more likely to try it.
CUT LIQUID CALORIES.
The extra calories from liquids can easily exceed what the body can use. Also, satiety is less when you drink calories, versus eating the same calories in food, because drinks empty from stomach quicker.
Limiting empty-calorie sweetened beverages and replacing them with unsweetened choices like non-fat milk, homemade iced tea and filtered water jazzed up with lemon. Eat the whole fruits instead of having it in the form of juice.
ATTENTION WITH THE SNACK ATTACKS.
Reports show that the percentage of children eating three regular meals a day has decreased over the past 25 years, while consumption of high calorie snack-type foods has gone up. Unhealthy snacking can have a negative impact on academic performance, energy levels and weight.
Give the household pantry and fridge an overhaul. First, get rid of nutrient-devoid chips, cookies and soda. Replace them with healthier, portable fuel-like nuts, baby carrots, low-fat string cheese and cottage cheese, yogurt and dried fruit.
SKIP THE FAST FOOD OUTLETS AND PREPARE MORE HOME-COOKED MEALS.
Take time during the weekend to create dinner menus for the coming week, with input from all family members, and make a detailed grocery list to facilitate an efficient visit to the health-food store and grocery. Involving children in meal preparation not only saves parents time, but it also teaches kids valuable cooking skills they might otherwise lack.