Our children's generation is probably going to be the first generation in America to have shorter lifespans then their parents. Poor weight control is likely the number one health problem facing families today. The Institute of Medicine special report of 2004 stated, “despite steady progress over most of the past century toward assuring the health of our country's children, we begin the twenty-first century with a startling setback-an epidemic of childhood obesity.” This epidemic is a monumental family problem. Here are 5 Tips for getting you and your family on the right track.
1) Eat Together:
The dinner table is a powerful tool for binding families together. Teenagers who eat with their families at least 5 times a week are more likely to get better grades in school and much less likely to have substance abuse problems. Remember, you are responsible for helping your family become healthier. Have you stopped or reduced the times per week you eat together with your family? In my opinion, this is one of the most important things you can do together as a family to strengthen it.
2) Shop and Cook Together:
We are a nation of very poor eaters. Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of almost all of our health issues we face today. The food and nutrition habits formed in the early years of life will influence us throughout our lives. Remember, good nutrition starts at the store. If you don't buy it and bring it home, you and your family cannot eat it! How you eat and what you buy are powerful teaching tools. You as the parent are the example. Allow each child to help plan his or her own night during the weekly menu planning. During shopping teach them about how to read the labels. They can also be involved in the meal preparation on their night. Teach children to choose fruits and vegetables based off the different colors of the rainbow.
3) Exercise Together:
Make exercise a family celebration! Make exercise a priority in your family. The greatest accountability group for exercise is family. Sit down with your family and make individual goals, then write them down. Peers play an influential role in children's lives. Create opportunities for your children and their friends to be active. Various studies have shown that exercise can improve mood, self-confidence, feeling of self satisfaction, achievement and self-sufficiency, yet we still persist in being inactive. The message is as clear as a sunny, spring day, exercise is good for you! You cannot expect a seed that is never watered to grow. Keep at exercising, it soon it will click, and you and your family will begin to flourish.
4) Reduce Stress Together:
Stressed parents and children overeat. Are you stressing your kids out by high expectations or by lifestyle? Many things can cause stress for children such as a change in environment, divorce or peer pressure. Spend time together everyday with your family. This quality time, and listening can lead to better communication with your children. Encourage each other. Tell your children how proud you are of them. Hug each other. Hugging helps children relax and can build self esteem. Be consistent with your children. Children need security and consistency; inconsistency can be confusing for children and will be very stressful. Laugh together. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress. Allow for quite time. Try your best to limit video games, TV and technological device usage each day-for both you and your children. Be sure you and your children are getting enough sleep each night.
5) Amount Matters:
Amount matters for both adults and children. Children's stomach are smaller than a grown adult's stomach. They do not need as much as adults do. Forcing children to eat everything on their plate can lead to problems with overeating. Children have the ability to know when they are full. You as a parent are responsible for what and when they eat, the child is responsible for how much they eat. Try not to bribe or reward a child with food such as sweet treats. Amount matters for adults too. By choosing healthier foods for your family you will find it easier to stop eating when full. Focus on having 6 small healthy meals throughout the day. This is beneficial for both children and adults. It keeps the blood sugar stable and helps keep you feeling satisfied.
Try this healthy, flavorful recipe!
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1 Tbs. ground coriander
- 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne
- 1 Tbs. tomato paste
- 2 cups lower-salt vegetable broth
- 1 cup Tempt Hempmilk
- One 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- One 15-1/2-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 oz. baby spinach
- 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
In a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, heat 1 tablespoon of water over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium (or medium low if necessary) and cook until the onion is richly browned, 5 to 7 minutes more. Add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, for 1 minute to blend the flavors. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne; stir for 30 seconds to toast the spices. Add the tomato paste and stir until well blended with the aromatics, about 1 minute. Add the broth, hemp milk, cinnamon stick, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low or low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots. Raise the heat to medium high and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick. Stir in the chickpeas, spinach, lime juice, and zest; cook until the spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes more. Season to taste with salt. Serve garnished with the cilantro.