This past week I had the opportunity to sit in on a conversation about children’s health with nutritional expert Dr. Jim Sears. Dr. Sears has really great advice on taking care of kids nutrition and activity levels that hit home with me and my own kids.
I don’t discuss this very often on my blog because I don’t want anything I say to be misconstrued, or for my children to read later on and have a low self esteem. But for this post I want to be completely honest in hopes that some other parents can benefit. 20 % of preschoolers are overweight and 11% are “over fat” which means that they have no muscle on their bones. My own children have BMI’s that are not in the healthy ranges, but we’re making progress (enough progress that our doctor is happy, which makes me happy). The key for us is that we need to increase our level of activity, because I’m like a hawk when it comes to my kids eating healthy. People automatically assume that I don’t feed them properly but I work very hard making sure that they snack on fruits and veggies. I need to focus my energy on exercise because food is only part of it. But before I get on my soapbox defending myself, let’s go into the detail on how to have healthy weight children.
Teach your children how to feel full! My own daughter has a terrible time knowing when she is full. So I’ve been telling her that she can have carrots if she is still hungry. Dr. Sears reminded me that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send your child the signal that they are done eating. So if you’re pretty sure you gave them a healthy serving, then distract them with a walk or a game of some kind. The best distraction would be some kind of active activity. Then if they are still hungry give them someone high in fiber and low in calories. My carrots as an all-purpose solution was not the best idea. My own doctor suggested that I offer her fruits and veggies that are high in water, like grapes and watermelon.
Teach your children how to make healthy food choices! I have never struggled with picky eaters, my kids eat everything. Most parents would love to have my problem, but it’s a slippery slope in either direction. Some parents wonder if their children are getting enough nutrients, while I’m constantly worried about how many calories they ARE getting. The solution, always provide healthy options. By giving them healthy options you are teaching them to make healthy options. Also, emulate healthy choices, your strongest influence over your children is your own behavior.
Of course Dr. Sears recommends his own Family Essentials as a healthy snack option, supplement or way to get good Omega 3 and other vitamins and all those things you might worry that your children are not getting into your kids.
From all of Dr. Sears’ years of experience he developed his own line of nutritious snacks and drinks for children, Dr. Sears Family Essentials. Dr. Sears Family Essentials offers a doctor-formulated, kid-approved line of 100 percent all-natural drinks, snacks and supplements that provide essential daily nutrients to help children grow healthy, strong and smart.
POPUMZ™ are 100 percent all-natural popped whole grain crisps that are packed with protein to help build strong muscles, fiber for healthy digestion and Omega-3 DHA – an essential component for the growth and development of young minds and bodies
Cool Fuel is a delicious, fortified and ready-to-drink shake that delivers the nutrition kids need to perform their best – in and out of the classroom. Made from 100 percent all-natural ingredients, the gluten- and lactose-free shakes contain no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners and 60 percent less sugar than competitive brands
Dr. Sears Family Essentials Supplement Fruit Chews are 100 percent all-natural and fruit-based, and provide kids with optimal levels of Omega-3 DHA and essential daily nutrients to nourish their minds and bodies
For more information please visit www.drsearsfamilyessentials.com
But he also has great ideas just for meal time. One encourage eating more often and smaller amounts, this is a valuable piece of information that has been echoed by other health experts that I’ve talked too. Large meals make you feel lethargic and eating more often jumpstarts your metabolism so it just makes sense to eat less more often. Just remember to keep those snacks and meals balanced. If you have picky eaters, try sitting down at the table with your meal, and give your child an empty plate. When they are ready to eat they will ask for the same thing you are having. At my house we have the rule, you eat what we eat or you don’t eat. It works for us.
Increase the activity level. This has been a constant struggle in our house. It rains from September through July in WA and even I don’t like playing in the rain, but I try to endure for their sakes. I also have children that do not want to exercise or play, walk or run. It’s very hard for me to make exercise fun. So this is what I try. Turn the TV off, kids should have only 1 hour or less of TV a day, which actually means, 1 hour of sit down time. So my biggest mistake is we don’t’ move enough as a family. One thing I’ve started doing recently, is if I’m just standing around or making dinner, I’ll start kicking my legs or dancing and Zoe asked me, “what are you doing mom” I responded, “I’m exercising”. Now I find that out of the blue she’s started doing it too. Which slapped me in the face with another dose of, they do what they see me doing.
Enter to Win:
A Month’s Supply of samples of Dr. Sears Family Essentials drinks, snacks and supplements.
Leave me a comment, question or advice on how you handle your children’s nutrition or exercise/playtime?
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This is a very important issue to me and many other families out there so I really want to help spread the word on the importance of taking care of your children at such a young and early age! I am receiving samples as well. This giveaway ends March 21st.