Little did I know when I started this series that September was National Childhood Obesity Month. Melissa recently wrote a thought-provoking post that forces us to answer some tough questions. "Did you know that 12.5 million children are either overweight or obese? Did you know that this is the first generation of children that might not live as long as their parents?" And to cut to the chase, "Did you know that this is one of the most preventable problems in the United States?"
Melissa goes on to provide some resources if you want to learn more or find out what you can do to help. I'm going to attempt to do my part by giving you some ideas of solutions that have worked for us.
Harvard has released a new and improved take on the age old food pyramid, the "Healthy Eating Plate." The USDA "My Plate" a while back but Harvard took it a step further and provided better explanations, as well as a few changes. Whether you agree with the changes or not, what is uniform amongst both of them is the
fact that half of your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables, eat less, avoid over-sized portions, and replace sugary drinks with water. The Harvard plate takes it a step further and replaces the dairy circle with water as well.
The first solution is to eat at home. When you eat out, you have no idea what goes into the food you eat. The term "hamburger" is a very loose term when you think of the dozen preservatives and other chemicals that are added to it. I use hamburger as an example but you could easily fill in the blank with anything you get at a fast food or sit-down restaurant. I'm not saying you can't indulge every once in a while but the goal is to eat as many meals at home as possible. You're not only doing your body a favor, your family will benefit as well.
While you're eating at home, get your children (and spouse) involved in the preparation. You might be surprised how much more your kids will be willing to try if they are helping wash it, cut it, scoop it, etc. I have gotten Colin to try several things this way and many times he eats his dinner allotment of veggies while standing on his chair helping me. Put yourself in their shoes, it has to be exciting to see what's going on up on that counter that Mommy works on every night. And then to get to sample some of the offerings before anyone else?! It's the little things, you know.
Allow your children to have input on the menu selection too. It helps take some of the guesswork out of it for you but it also makes them feel important that they got to pick what everyone is eating.
I think I've said this before and the "plate" above addresses it again, but strive to include as many fruits and vegetables with every meal as possible. Remember not all veggies are created equal - fresh is best, followed by frozen, and canned bringing up the very tail end - but some veggies are better than no veggies at all!
I hope you've enjoyed reading my mini series on Healthy Eating. I've enjoyed sharing with you some of my findings and personal successes. I hope you will strive to eat healthier and, in turn, pass that on to your family.