WOW! I can remember when I was a young child (10 years old or so), I couldn't wait to eat those fried bologna sandwiches my mom would make as a quick snack for me and my siblings. The way that bologna curled up as it got hot. The way the fat would pop outside of the skillet and on to my chest (man, that hurt). My brother and I would grab 4 pieces of bread each; soak each slice with mustard; throw a couple of slices of cheese on them and presto, we had the child version of a gourmet meal. We would never forget to wash it down with some good old root beer. That really hit the spot. We did not care one bit about health and nutrition. What was nutrition to us? Nutrition was eating whatever we wanted, and a lot of it!
Those reading this blog know that probably wasn't the smartest thing to do. Also, those reading this blog have had their own version of the "fried bologna sandwich" when they were my age (I'm 42 years old now). Something or multiple things that you ate, when you look back, you know it probably wasn't the healthiest choice. It was, however, what your parents had for you, so you ate it no matter what, right? Today, nutrition has become more of an importance. Why? Well, people seem to get more sick, ill, or even not live as long as we should be. According to an article on CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/22/us-life-expectancy-is-low-and-is-now-projected-to-be-on-par-with-mexico-by-2030.html it says the life expectancy of those in the U.S. is on course to be the lowest compared to all other rich nations by 2030 (U.S. Women projected to be 83.3 years of age, U.S. men 79.5 years of age by 2030). This is compared to what, for instance, South Korea is projected to be which is 90 years old for women and 84.1 for men by 2030. That is a huge difference! Nutrition is the basis for this, in my opinion. We as Americans are a "fast pace" society. What I mean by that is that we are always on the go, and we let our eating suffer because of it. We would rather go to a drive through; grab some cheeseburgers and fries from McDonald's, then drive off to the sunset to feed ourselves and families. We have to do better people!
Here are MY top 5 things you should, and what my wife and I teach are kids (see picture above) about nutrition. If we teach are kids now, and we practice what we preach to them, our kids will grow up learning the importance of nutrition and pass that to their kids as well (kind of like a cool chain reaction)!
1. Keep healthy snacks handy!
When you as the parent or guardian are on the go, it is easy to pick up fast food and bolt. Why not keep some healthy, non-perishable foods in the car for those times the kids need something to munch own.
2. Never skip Meals
When our kids skip meals, our bodies go into "survival" mode. This means that the body doesn't know the next time it will be fed, so foods that your child does eat are more susceptible to be utilized as storage within the body. This can lead to an increase in adipose tissue or fat. So watch portions, but eat often.
3. Stay away from sweetened beverages
Try to avoid these at all costs, but if it's a must, just have your kids drink these on special occasions. These sweetened beverages include: pop, fruit juices, tea, etc.
4. DRINK WATER
I capitalized this one, because it is so important. In a previous blog I said that our bodies are roughly 73% water. We need to re-hydrate ourselves often in order for our body to work properly.
5. Lead by example
Have you heard the saying, "Practice what you preach?" That's exactly what I mean here. Studies have shown that kids will follow in their parents/guardians footsteps in terms of nutrition at an early age. If you eat healthy, your child is more susceptible to eat healthy. If you eat like crap, your child is more susceptible to eat like crap.
The list above are only 5 of many things you should teach your kids about nutrition. Let's just take baby-steps with it. Start with 1 or 2 then work your way up. Not to sound too corny, but as Whitney Houston said, "I believe the children are our future..."