As a shoe store that carries athletic and performance shoes for Men, Women and Children (Schuler Shoes/New Balance Twin Cities), we love to see parents and kids on the move. Families seeking adventure together = less time in front of the TV and more time staying active.
With a rise in childhood obesity, it is clear that we need our kids to stay active in school and community sports and well, just getting out and moving around more. But, this is just one piece of the puzzle. An even bigger piece to all of this is teaching our children and even re-teaching our teenagers healthy eating habits and exposing them to healthy food options.
For ideas on what kind of foods to include in our kids’ daily routines, I asked my friend and Nutrition and Wellness Coach Liz Blom a few questions.
What would you suggest packing in lunches?
Packed lunches…early in the morning it can seem like such a burden to pack lunches and there are so many mornings that I wish my kids would just take hot lunch. However, there is something to be said about having the opportunity to make healthy choices for them. Whole grain bread, lean meats (unprocessed preferred) with sandwich fixings is an easy lunch choice, accompanied by yogurt or string cheese, and fresh fruit and/or vegetables. Make your own “lunchables” in a sense. Homemade soup or a low sodium version is also a “go to” and can be kept hot in a thermos type container. When in doubt, refer to the USDA Daily Plate www.choosemyplate.gov. You know your child best, so take into consideration their likes and dislikes. If you are going to take the time to make it, you want them to eat it.
What would you suggest for an after school snack?
After school snacks are meant to carry your child to dinner. So, depending on how long they will have to wait will help determine what is going to hold them over. Again, you may be able to fill in a gap that may not have been in their lunch. Some kid friendly suggestions would be apple with peanut butter, veggies and dip, trail mix with unsalted nuts and raisins, pretzels and string cheese, fruit and yogurt. These all make for great choices. An occasional treat such as ice cream or a cookie is perfectly acceptable and normal. They are children after all. Just remember you are promoting balance. Moderation is the same for kids as it is for adults.
What are smart snacks to give your kids who arrive home from practice just before bedtime, but are hungry?
I would refer you back to the afterschool snack. Kids are growing, so they need fuel to promote and support this growth.
Can you offer advice on how to incorporate healthy eating habits at home?
Again, you set the example for your children from the start. Start by feeding your body good nutrition to sustain health, so you can take care of them for the long haul, or at least until they are out of the house. Talk with them about the value of good nutrition and encourage them to try new foods. If you are picky, try not to let them see this. Expose them to all foods and let them decide.
If you feel you lack the knowledge, it is important to take time to learn more. There is an amazing amount of information out there. Not all of it credible unfortunately. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. The American Dietetic Association website is a great place to begin. Great advice from nutrition experts is available at www.eatright.org, including a good nutrition reading list.
Liz Blom is the mother of two active girls, a registered Dietitian, Nutrition and Wellness Coach and Advocare Distributor. For more information on Liz, visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lizblom.nutritionandwellness.