The rates of childhood obesity are reaching epidemic proportions in Canada. Increased consumption of processed food and fast food combined with lack of exercise are the primary factors behind the epidemic.
Obesity can lead to early onset type 2 diabetes and hormone imbalance in teens as well as many other health problems. As parents our focus should be to reduce or totally eliminate the intake of processed foods, unwanted additives and increase the nutritional value of meals.
The following are some tips to help you with the journey to healthier eating.
- Shape tastes early and it is never too late to start.
- Feed them the right carbohydrates and the right fats.
- Include ‘grow’ foods (these are nutrient dense, high protein foods).
- Always begin with a ‘brainy’ breakfast.
- It is okay to raise a grazer.
- Feed the immune system (think rainbow colors).
- Get active as a family. Make it fun!
- Educate your children. Explain why we eat healthy food rather then telling them.
- Make food fun! Include your children in the process of buying, preparing and cooking.
The important thing to remember is to not give up. The most common saying I hear from parents is ‘my child will not eat that’ or’ my child only eats…’ Repeated exposure (between 10 and 20 times) to a new food will eventually lead to most children accepting it.
You may need to present the food in a different way to get your child to eat it. Did you know that our taste buds actually change as we get older? So foods that your child may not have liked when they were five years old, may be their favorite food when they are eight.
Here is a quick and easy granola bar recipe. This is a great alternative the most common store bought variety and the great thing is you can change ingredients to other options you might have on hand. For those of you with nut allergies in your home, switching out the almond butter for sunflower seed butter or tahini (sesame seed) will also work. Enjoy!
These wholesome granola bars are packed with slow-releasing carbohydrates and healthy fats to keep your child going longer.
1 cup Nature’s Path Millet Rice Flakes cereal 250 mL
1 cup whole rolled oats 250 mL
¾ cup dried fruit (raisins, chopped dates, apricots) 175 mL
¼ cup sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds 50 mL
¼ cup chopped almonds 50 mL
½ cup brown rice syrup 125 mL
2 tbsp coconut butter or unsalted butter 30 mL
¼ cup almond butter 50 mL
1. Mix cereal flakes, rolled oats, dried fruit, seeds, and almonds in a bowl.
2. Gently heat brown rice syrup, coconut butter, and almond butter in a large saucepan until melted and smooth. Add dry ingredients to saucepan and quickly stir well to coat. Press into an 8-inch (2 L) square pan.
3. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and cut into squares. Store at room temperature. Makes about 16 bars.
Courtesy of Sprout Right
Thanks to Danielle Macfarland RHN and Holistic Nutritionist with Thrive Nutritional Consultants. Learn more: www.thrivenutrition.ca