Giving Our Children a Chance at Health
There is a minimum of 47,000 food products on the grocery store shelves across America. With the bombardment of “kid food,” which includes multiple ingredients, additives and colorings and is not limited to home. School lunches are packed with sugar, salt, fat and preservatives. During the back to school season you can find even the “healthier stores” have sections of prepackaged food for ease and convenience. Do our children really have a chance at living a healthy long life?
Just 50 years ago eating was simple. You bought your meat from the butcher, grew your own fruits and vegetables and maybe had milk and eggs delivered to your doorstep once a week. Animals ate what they were historically made to eat?grass and foliage. Our food was grown in an organic state and we cooked from scratch.
Statistics show that one in three Americans born after the year 2000 will develop diabetes and most children will have shorter lives than their parents.
How can our generation take responsibility for our children and ensure their health and longevity?
Here are some steps to take to feed your healthy child:
1.Limit processed and packaged foods – limiting processed foods lowers the amount of sugar, salt, and preservatives your child is taking in on a daily basis. If you purchase foods in packages use the “less than 5” rule – choose foods with less than five ingredients that you can pronounce and recognize.
2.Plant a garden with your child and allow them to help harvest and prepare the produce. If unable to have a garden, take your child to a local Farmer’s market and have them pick out 2 or 3 of their favorite fruits and vegetables. If they are involved in the process, they are more likely to want to consume those foods.
3.Consider purchasing protein from animals that are grass-fed, pastured, organic and free-range – beef, poultry, eggs and dairy as they produce healthy fats which lower inflammation in the body. Animals that consume corn/grains produce fats that increase inflammation in the body. Organic foods have fewer hormones, which lowers risk of weight gain and health issues.
4. Go Homemade– if your child wants to eat cookies, French fries, or other foods with additional salt or sugar, make those foods with them – homemade cookies and fries can be made with healthier ingredients.
These 4 steps can direct your child’s life towards health and longevity. It may take a little extra time and planning but the rewards for you and your child are life-changing. Children are precious and we need to give them all the health we can before? it’s too late.
Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
September 14, 2010 @ 6:03 pm
I agree. Kids are bombarded with way too many "kid" foods that are loaded with artificial coloring and flavoring, added sugar, and other junk. I've also noticed that the more upscale brands are jumping on board and making their own versions of fruit roll-ups, cheese crackers, etc. that SEEM healthier–but while they may be made with organic flour and have fewer artificial colors, they're still high in added sugar, sodium, etc.
Alysa Bajenaru, RD, CPT
September 14, 2010 @ 7:45 pm
I agree with Sally, just because the label says organic doesn't make it healthy! I also agree with you about planting a garden. My son loved to eat fresh vegetables from our garden, but won't necessarily eat the same veggies from the store.
September 16, 2010 @ 1:52 am
You are correct in pointing out that our food culture has changed tremendously in the last 50 years. On one hand, we seem to have made a lot of progress. But when it comes to the health of our children, we seem to have fallen behind. Your suggestions are very useful and offer a chance to busy parents to begin taking control of the situation.
September 16, 2010 @ 8:06 am
as a parent we should guide our children to healthy foods and nonetheless we should train them to eat practice balance diet.
September 17, 2010 @ 10:49 am
Kids are bombarded with way too many "kid" foods that are loaded with artificial coloring and flavoring, added sugar, and other junk. Very good post and thank you very much for sharing!