Healthy Eating For Kids:Raising Healthy Kids

The New Year brings us a lot of different choices and resolutions. One of the resolutions people talk about often is food and wanting to make more healthier food choices.  Deb Bixler of  Wow! You Are Really Lucky teaches wellness and education to those wanting to make the right food choices. Deb has created a Healthy Living Blog Carnival with some fabulous submissions from other writers to help you reach your goals of eating healthier in 2010 and continuing to make the right food choices in the future. I was happy to participate as one of the contributors to the Healthy Living Blog Carnival.

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Healthy Eating For Kids:Raising Healthy Kids

Today’s post is about teaching your children about the principles of healthy eating at an early age. By teaching them these principles, it will go a long way toward helping them live a healthier life. Children who learn to make the right food choices — selecting colorful fruits and vegetables, good fats, and good carbs, while avoiding trans fats in packaged foods and fast foods — are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and enjoy lifelong health.

The first step is to always set a good example yourself. They’ll pick up on the fact that you enjoy eating fresh produce, lean sources of protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. It’s equally important to have a steady supply of these foods in the house. Stock the fridge with fruit and precut veggies so your kids can easily reach for a healthy snack. Begin to abandon refined grains and sugary cereals, and replace them with whole-grain crackers, sliced breads, and high-fiber, low-sugar cereals.

It’s also helpful — and fun — to include your children in selecting recipes, shopping for ingredients, and preparing the dishes you eat together. As active participants in the process, they’ll be more interested in tasting their creations. Let young kids pour and mix, and allow older children to measure ingredients and slice vegetables. At the grocery store, encourage your kids to choose an exotic fruit or a grain they’ve never tasted.

Finally, don’t deem certain foods “forbidden.” It’s OK for your kids (and you) to indulge in an occasional dessert.

How to Start Eating Healthier with Better Planning and a Gradual Approach

Most Americans consume too many calories and not enough nutrients. The typical American diet is low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and high in saturated fat, salt, and sugar. As a result, more Americans than ever are overweight,obese, and at increased risk for diseases such as: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Here are 12 tips to moving your eating habits in the right direction.

1) Look at What You Eat Now: Keep a food journal of what you eat so you can figure out what adjustments you need to make. If you have to write down you ate 9 cookies, you may only eat 2 instead.

2) Start with Small Changes – don’t go Cold Turkey: To achieve a long-term healthy lifestyle, small changes over time are the most likely to stick. Once the changes become habits, in about 2-4 weeks, make more changes.

3) Use the Nutrition Facts Label to make smart choices. Look at the percent Daily Value (%DV) column. 5 percent or less of the DV is considered low and 20 percent or more is high. Keep saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium low, and keep fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C high. Also control portion sizes!

4) Control Portion Sizes: A large bottled drink, isn’t one serving! Look at the label and you’ll see it’s actually two servings. Know proper portion sizes.

5) Get the Most Nutrients for Your Allotted Calories

6) Focus on Fruit: Eat a variety of fruits–whether fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. Whole fruit has more fiber, it’s more filling, and it’s naturally sweet. Some juices, such as orange and prune, are a good source of potassium.

7) Make Half Your Grains Whole: The words “whole” or “whole grain” must be the first ingredient listed in the ingredients list on the package. ” Wholegrain foods cannot necessarily be identified solely by their color or name.

8) Know Your Fats: Fat provides flavor and makes you feel full. It also provides energy, and essential fatty acids for healthy skin, and helps the body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. But fat also has 9 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram in protein and carbohydrates.

Strive to lower all three types of fats:

Saturated fat: found mainly in foods associated with animals like cheese, beef, milk

Trans fat: found in hydrogenated vegetable oil; found in vegetable shortenings, margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods like crackers and cookies.

Cholesterol: found mainly in foods associated with animals like meat , poultry, egg yolks, dairy.

Most of your fats should come from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids that occur in: fish, nuts, soybeans, corn oil, canola oil, olive oil, other vegetable oils.

This type of fat does not raise the risk of heart disease and may be beneficial when consumed in moderation.

9) Make Choices That Are Lean, Low-fat, or Fat-free: Choose versions of meat, poultry, milk/milk products that are lean, low-fat,or fat-free.

10) Eat Your Veggies: Strive for 2 1/2 cups per day. Pick dark green, orange and yellow vegetables as well as tomatoes. But, make it convenient — buy salad in a bag and pre-made vegetable trays so everything is cut up and you can just reach in and eat it throughout the week.

11) Lower Sodium and Increase Potassium: Most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods. Use the Nutrition Facts label on food products: 5% DV or less for sodium. Prepare foods with little salt and use the following to enhance the flavor to food: herbs, spices, lemon or lime, vinegar and salt-free seasoning blends. Potassium counteracts some of sodium’s effect on blood pressure. Increase potassium-rich foods such as: sweet potatoes, orange juice, bananas, spinach, winter squash, cantaloupe, tomato puree.

12) Limit “Added Sugars”: These are sugars and syrups that are added in processing or preparation. Look on the food label. These added sugars may be listed as: corn syrup, glucose, sucrose high fructose corn sugar.

Enjoy a healthier 2010! Happy New Year!

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About Noel

Noel is a CEO and Mother of 4 who can be found blogging from her home office, who's passionate about family, nutrition, fitness and supporting others reach their health & fitness goals. Noel uses her blog to share about simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, walking, workouts and a little sprinkle of life! She created Noel's Kitchen Tips teaching families how to make budget friendly meal and healthy recipes. She's blessed to have the opportunity to be able to teach busy moms and families how to use food and cooking as a means of bringing family mealtimes back to the table and stay healthy.

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