August is Kids Eat Right Month, focusing attention on how important it is to shop smart, cook healthy, eat right, and be active. In the United States 1 out of 3 kids are overweight or obese resulting in health concerns such as depression, poor body image, behavior problems, learning problems, insulin resistance, asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, early puberty, and fatty liver.
Shop smart by creating a shopping list with your kids and taking them to the grocery store to involve them in the decision making process. Fill your cart with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy, and healthy fats. Avoid packaged foods and don’t allow junk food into the house. Talk about food colors, shapes, flavors, and textures.
Cook healthy and encourage kids to get involved. Younger kids can rinse produce, mix ingredients, and clear tables. Older kids can crack eggs, peel vegetables, make salads, slice, chop, and pound chicken on a cutting board.
Eat right by sitting down for family meals without TV or phones. Serve all family members appropriate sized portions based on their energy needs. Keep serving dishes off the table. Let kids decide whether to eat what is served. Do not encourage kids to finish their plate. Offer vegetables or fruit if second helping are asked for.
Most importantly lead by example. Eat healthy meals and snacks with your kids. Live an active lifestyle and encourage your kids by playing with them, going on family hikes, biking together, and taking trips to the pool. We can change the obesity epidemic starting with one healthy meal at a time!
Healthy Snack Ideas
Celery sticks with natural peanut butter
Yogurt layered with berries
Cookie cutter shaped cheese and whole grain crackers
Carrots and hummus