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Monday, June 15, 2015

Are You Responsible for Your Child’s Unhealthy Lifestyle? Fight Fat with Food!

“Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.”

“The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.”

Above quoted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

What are we doing to our children and how can we help them live healthier lives? And how can we decrease the amount of processed foods our kids eat and replace those foods with foods that contribute to their overall health?

Recently, I watched a video of a man who was burning what looked like a slice of cheese. It wouldn’t burn, though, and it burned more like plastic than it did food. I wondered how that cheese product would digest in a small 3-year-old’s body, and knew immediately why, when I was providing daycare, the State of Illinois specifically stated that the type of cheese childcare providers were allowed to feed children had to say, “cheese” on the label – not cheese “product.”  

Cheese is a staple in so many diets among so many children – are we feeding our children plastic or real food? Are children experiencing gastrointestinal problems because they can’t digest the food we’re feeding them?

Before women decided to (and in many cases had to) go to work, moms were left at home to care for the family. When Dad and kids came home from work or school, Mom had a meal prepared for them. Today both Mom and Dad work and the kids are scheduled for so many after-school activities that the only option is to grab a hotdog as they race to the car or to run to the concession stand for a plate of nachos. 

But what might be a better option?

According to ABC News, whole, unrefined foods force our metabolisms to work harder than they do when we fill our bodies with processed foods. What that means is that if your food item lists no other ingredients beyond say, bananas, beans, etc., and the food you are about to ingest has no additives, no preservatives, and absolutely no other ingredients, you are looking at a potential fat buster.

Foods in their natural forms are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, probiotics, or essential fatty acids. Can we get our concession stands to offer healthier alternatives? Can we come together as parents and grandparents to offer our children better food choices?

It’s not too late to make changes. We can no longer use the no-time excuse or the too-many-activities excuse. We MUST make changes, and we must make them now, because if we don’t make changes NOW, our kids, when they become adults, will suffer from heart disease at alarming rates and we, their parents and grandparents, will bury our children.

Is offering healthy food options at concession stands impossible? Why can’t restaurants (even fast food restaurants) offer healthy – but also tasty – alternatives to the high-sugar, salt-laden foods they now offer? Let’s switch out the salt and sugar for some of the spices listed below. We really do have many choices. We just have to MAKE time to take advantage of them.

What follows are the best healthy foods for fighting fat and contributing to the overall health of all of us:

FISH, including Flounder, Sole, Tilapia, and Salmon – omega 3s, found in fish, build muscle which then metabolizes more fat because muscles burn more calories than does fat.

FRUITS, such as Apples, Blueberries, Cherries, Grapefruit, Oranges, Pomegranates, and Avocado (which speeds metabolism, helps inflammation, clears blood vessels, and provides fiber and essential fatty acids). Even though they are packed with sugar, they are packed with “natural” sugar.

LEGUMES, like Beans, are “high in resistance” starch and fiber.

VEGETABLES, including Arugula, Bell peppers, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Leeks, Onions, Romaine lettuce, Scallions, Shiitake mushrooms, Spinach, Tomatoes Chili Peppers (the capsaicin in chili peppers is thought to burn fat)

NUTS AND SEEDS (raw, unsalted) include Almonds, Flaxseeds, Sesame seeds, Walnuts, and others

BEVERAGES that are unsweetened, such as Blueberry juice, Cherry juice, Pomegranate juice, Vegetable juice, Green Tea (caffein, antioxidants, and catechins stimulate the nervous system and lead to a reduction in body fat), and Coffee, which perks up metabolism

HERBS AND SPICES: Basil, Black pepper, Cardamom, Chives, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Cloves, Garlic, Ginger, Parsley, Turmeric

MISC: Egg whites, Yogurt (plain, nonfat) – the probiotics and calcium in yogurt are supposed to have slimming effects.

Vow now to be your child’s advocate for a healthy lifestyle. If you eat foods that are unhealthy, make a conscious decision to change your eating habits, too, not only for your children, but also for yourself. Make sure you and your kids get plenty of exercise, drink lots of fluids, and eat foods that contribute to your overall health. You’ll find you will all feel better, look better, and have more energy!

Above information was taken from these three sources:

Photo – by Seemann from Morguefile

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