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Coaching Kids to Healthy Living.

Updated on May 28, 2014

Healthy Eating Habits Start at Home.

In today's fast paced world, we often skip meals or as some of us do; especially we moms go for those drive thru quickie happy routes. I'm GUILTY!

Unfortunately, today’s parents active lives are hindering their children’s eating habits, and it seems almost criminal seeing what's happening out there and not doing anything about it. Unless, we make urgent changes at home, starting in our kitchen cabinets, this issue will worsen and will spike high, as fast as the children's obesity rate is going in the U.S.

Instead of seating down in a quiet family dinner, like it was done so many years ago; parents are not often at home at the same time, and whoever is home may be too tired to prepare a home cook meal. As a result they either pick up something from their way home or let their children pick anything from the drive thru menu to whatever makes them “Happy”, just to make up for the loss of priceless family time. Unfortunately, these poor eating habits will carry on to the later years of their lives leading into irregular, unhealthy eating habits leading to health problems.

Well, is never too late!. “Healthy active children” require a balanced meal at least 3 times a day; this is because some children eat lunch at school while most working parents eat at work. Unlike those staying at home having the opportunity to prepare lunch, or opt for healthy snacks packed with more nutrients, therefore preventing weight related illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, heart desease and vitamin and mineral deficiencies that may even cause behavioral circumstances. “Factors such as nutrition and brain chemistry are often overlooked“, says Dr. Lawrence Wilson, MD. Furthermore, active kids participating in sports or any other physical activities in a regular basis require an even more balanced and complete meal for health, better performance, as well as to prevent injuries.

What should we do to make it better? It takes just a few minutes a day to plan out healthy, well balance meals for the week. Planning the week ahead will help you make healthier choices and even money savings, since is more likely that everything will be consumed and less likely to waste.

Consciously speaking, we all know that fast or processed foods, filled with unsafe preservatives such as canned or boxed, are not the answer. So it’s very simple, don’t buy it! Most snacks don’t constitute a full balance meal. We just need to make gradual simple changes by adding and eliminating. By eliminating the bad and adding the good. All it takes is a few minutes a day to revise your cabinets and get rid of all the junk.

**Keep a variety of healthy foods, snacks and mini-meals in your kitchen in case you or your child has hunger or boredom and avoid snacking on unhealthy, empty calories. There are many healthy choices out there, from the local farmers markets - to the greener sections in most supermarkets and convenient stores.

** Be creative. Preparing snacks and healthy mini-meals. “Mini-meals keep kids focused”, says Lindsey Adkison, The Brunswick News, Ga. With school back in session, children will be expending more energy daily. To help them stay energized, parents should look to snacks.That does not mean a lot of junk food, but, rather, healthy mini-meals that are an important part of a child's diet, Jackie Carr, a clinical dietitian at Southeast Georgia Health System, say.

"Children need to eat often, because they have smaller stomachs and require additional energy, or calories, for activity and growth. Your child needs at least three meals and two or three healthful snacks daily," she said."Snacks should be limited to nutritious foods from the basic food groups. Meals and snacks should be eaten at a table and at regular times. If children graze or eat constantly all day long they will not be hungry at meal times.

"Getting children to reach for healthy, nutrient-packed snacks, however, can be tricky. Many children only want sugar-heavy or fatty snacks. Carr concedes that occasionally these treats are OK, but only in moderation."There is no need to severely decrease fat or simple sugar intake, but fatty and sweet food choices should not overwhelm more nutritious ones, meaning the occasional cookie, candy or bag of chips can be included in your child's diet, if your child makes smart choices at most meals," she said.

Of course, there are ways to make healthy items more appealing. Carr suggests that parents mix in fruits and vegetables in ways that seem exciting and fun to children.

Here are some of my favorite (and easy to create) treats for kids:

-- DIY Trail mix: Make your own healthy version dried fruits, such as raisins, apricots, apples, bananas, blueberries, seeds and nuts in a sandwich bag for an on-the-go snack.

-- Snack kabobs: Alternate cubes of watermelon, strawberries and grapes on an unsalted pretzel stick.

-- Banana pops: Dip a banana in a plain greek yogurt, and then roll it in crushed nuts and freeze.

-- Fruit smoothie: Blend low-fat almond milk, frozen berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and a banana for 45 seconds.

-- Fruit and yogurt parfait: Alternate layers of plain greek yogurt, granola and fruit, such as berries, in a parfait or other glass.

-- Ants on a log: Spread almond or peanut butter on celery sticks and top with raisins or dried cranberries.

-- Eat the shapes (game): Simply take all color fruits and wash them, peel them and cut them, place them in a large bowl. In separate plates ask them to help you build different shapes by using all ready cleaned and cut fruits. The prize is that they get to eat them if they can guess the shapes correctly.

** Lead by example. If you eat healthy most likely they will follow you. “I love fruits and vegetables, therefore my kids love to eat them too. " Get them involved in the planning and preparation of meals, so they learn the right components of a healthy meal.

** Health on a Budget can be accomplished. Many of us need to budget our food dollars more carefully in order to buy organic healthy foods. Grocery coupons may work for some, unfortunately not always in a healthy way. The fundamental answer is to manage the closest co-op or natural food stores in a distance away. Most people say "healthy could be expensive"; well that is if you do all your grocery shopping in just one particular expensive place. It's so simple; at the beginning may take you a bit of time, but shopping around in two or three different places that carry inexpensive organic brands and local farmer's markets, may do the trick to stay within your budget. Just think of improving the quality of your family life and reduce the amount of doctor’s visits, that’s a big savings right there of money and headaches.

** Bring back the family meals. Even if is just one or two days a week, set a time where family comes together to eat a home cook meal and talk about their day. Even quick preparation meals can be healthy. It also helps keep families stay in sync. “Families that eat together stay together”!

It is so important that we take action "Today"! Let's help our kids make better decisions by identifying the facts, by getting them involved and by showing them how joyful healthy living can be.

Teaching our kids the ABC's of healthy eating can be a life saver!

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    • profile image

      Mtribs 5 years ago

      great stuff

    • InTuneWithCooking profile image

      InTuneWithCooking 5 years ago from Australia

      Great hub! Lots of good tips.

    • Sandra Tribioli profile image
      Author

      Sandra Tribioli 5 years ago from Florida

      You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

    • rlaha profile image

      rlaha 5 years ago from Spartanburg, SC

      Great informative hub! Thanks for sharing!

    • retellect profile image

      retellect 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the tips! It's really hard to get my 2 year old to eat her fruits and veg, I have to make up things like "all princesses eat apples." Your tips will definitely change my approach!