My parents were amazing cooks, but like many moms and dads they worked full time jobs during my early years and fast food was always convenient after a long day of work.
So let’s take a walk down memory lane.
Let’s start with breakfast.
During the work week, milk and cereal was a breakfast classic! Whole Milk and Kellog’s Frosted Flakes, Rice Crispies, Cocoa Crispies, Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the oh so healthy Honey Combs. The best part of a cereal breakfast, was the sweet flavored milk left over. I wished they just made apple jacks milk.
Lunch & dinner time! School lunches consisted of sandwiches, fries, cookies, chips and juicy juice. McDonald’s Happy meals were the best! I loved when mom used to bring home that cute little box filled with chicken nuggets, fries, and a surprise. Milk shakes were awsome too. After a long day of work, a bucket of KFC original recipe always hit the spot.
Our kitchen was also supplied with goodies filled with her love. Pringles, Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Cheetos, Munchos, Lays, Snickers, Kit Kats and more.
I think I’m going to throw up right now.
How could my parents promote this? I love my parents but I don’t think they knew how much harm they were causing. I know that my mom and dad meant well and were simply showing their love through food, but as a child I knew nothing about calories and weight gain. I ate anything and everything that was around.
After many years of bad eating habits, I finally opened my eyes and realized that I was heading down an unhealthy path. Even though I have done a great job losing weight and adopting a healthy menu, I am still struggling with maintaining my weight. It took years to put it on, and I accept that it will take years to get to my healthy goal.
Instead of dealing with obesity and weight issues at a later age, we need to tackle this epidemic from the early stages of childhood.
Take a trip to Barnes and Nobles or jump online to begin your research. There are so many books and web sites that cater to parenting and creating healthy menus for children without sacrificing taste.
One of my favorite sites is the Sneaky Chef.com that features Author and Chef Missy Chase Lapine.
“With over 75 simple recipes, The Sneaky Chef is chock full of proven strategies for ingeniously disguising “super foods” in kids’ favorite meals. Like blueberries hidden in burgers, broccoli in meatballs, cauliflower in mac ‘n cheese, and wheat germ in cookies (they can’t see or taste anything different!).
With the addition of a few fast and simple make-ahead purees or clever replacements (some may surprise you!) parents can pack more fiber, fruit, vegetables and whole grains in their kids’ foods”.
Here are just a few tips to get you started:
* Pack your kids’ lunches and meals. Include a variety fruits, vegetables and whole grains. For example: Turkey & Cheese on whole grain bread, apple slices, and a water bottle.
* Teach your kids to love water instead of sodas. Feel free to add a slice of orange or a few raspberries to the water to give it a hint of refreshing flavor.
* Teach your children how to keep a journal tracking their foods, activities and emotions. Find stickers to simplify their tracking. For example, find veggie stickers. Every time they eat carrots, they can place that sticker in their journal. That will motivate them to both eat the carrots and continue to use the journal.
In addition to adopting a healthy menu for your family, you should also come up with other ways of showing your love whether it is by playing sports, indulging in arts and crafts or taking up a music instrument together.
With the increased availability of food, obesity has become such a worldwide epidemic, and through education and awareness we can make a change. One of my favorite people in the world is doing just that!
Dr. Oz (Oprah’s handsome Dr. guest!) has started Health Corps, an organization that introduces nutrition and exercise programs to public schools, to educate children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
HealthCorps® is up and running in 45 high schools in California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Through a strategic plan, HealthCorps will continue increasing its outreach in current states and initiating outreach to schools in new states such as Connecticut and Arizona in 2009-2010.
Thanks Dr. Oz!
If you are a parent who is already promoting a healthy lifestyle, I would love to hear from you!
If you are a parent who is guilty of over feeding their children, make today a fresh start. I would love for you to share with me your current situation then explain how you will improve your family’s health and lifestyle!