Ask Dr: K: What Does a Healthy Diet for Children Look Like?
In the United States, one out of three children is considered obese. For busy families, eating healthy and remembering to exercise can be a challenge. Dr. Katalenas, author of the Step Up Diet shares her healthy diet and exercise tips that all families can benefit from. It all boils down to Quality, Quantity and Timing!
Question: Childhood obesity is a big problem in our country. Dr. Katalenas, can you tell us more about this epidemic?
Dr: K : Yes, it shows over the last thirty years. We have tripled the amount of kids who are obese and have high body mass indexes. We really have to start taking care of what we eat and exercising more. To put it simply, we are eating too much and too often and not getting enough exercise.
Question: What is the ideal diet for children and families?
Dr: K: Get back to the ABC’s of packing healthy lunches and snack for kids. Believe me, there are healthy delicious options you can offer. Make sure you are offering whole grains and proteins. You can keep things interesting with quinoa, millet and buckwheat. Try a yogurt parfait with fruit and granola for breakfast. Greek yogurt has double the protein of regular yogurt so it will keep kids full until lunchtime.
Question: What exercises are good for children?
Dr.K: The PE hour they get at school is not enough. Not too long ago, the fun part of growing up was outdoors. Kids enjoyed getting outside to play. With the evolution of electronics, everything fun is indoors. I tell parents to let kids use their own imagination to create their own games.
Question: Sometimes, snack time is a problem area. What can children eat for a healthy snack?
Dr: K: Children receive seven times the added sugars recommended by the American Heart Association! You can give your kids a hardboiled egg with crackers or hummus with baby carrots. Protein keeps children satisfied so they aren’t grabbing a bag of chips or another empty-calorie option. You can train your child’s taste buds to enjoy healthy snacks.
Question: Kids love sugar! What can we feed kids to satisfy our sweet tooth?
Dr. K: You can serve fresh apples instead of cinnamon applesauce. You can have fun dipping them in peanut butter or sprinkle them with cinnamon. There are so many things we can do as parents that are healthier choices for our kids.
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