Raising a Healthy Family: You Are In Charge of Your Kids’ Health!

| February 5, 2010 | 4 Comments

camping8As parents, one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is to raise them to be healthy in all elements of their life. We have the power to teach them about healthy eating, inspire them to be active and encourage them to live well.

First Lady Michelle Obama recently unveiled an official campaign to combat childhood obesity and although she met with criticism for sharing her family’s pediatrician’s words about her daughters’ body mass indexes, the message should be heard loud and clear. Parents need to take responsibility for their children’s behaviors and make small changes to ensure their kids grow up healthy.

Earlier this week, I had a chance to talk to Jacque Miller, a behavior nutritionist in Arizona who works with a childhood obesity program, about raising healthy families.

“I think the biggest things for the parents to know is that they are in charge of their kids’ health. The kids are not the ones starting the car and driving through (fast food joints) … Parents are the ones in charge of their family’s health,” says Miller.

So, what can you do? Here are some tips from Miller:

  • Practice portion control. Without a doubt, portion sizes are out of control in the U.S. As parents, we need to stop the madness and eat smaller amounts. “Portion control is the big issue when it comes to obesity,” says Miller.
  • Learn to cook and read labels. If you rely on premade, prepackaged foods, you aren’t setting your family up for success. Miller says that cooking, and also understanding nutrition labels is really important for parents. Did you know that there are 14 different ways that sugar can be listed on a label?
  • Shop right. If you shop the right areas of the store, then your meals will naturally be healthier. “If it comes in a box, don’t eat it. … You shop the perimeter of the grocery store, that’s where the fresh food is,” says Miller. Farmers’ markets are another great resource.
  • Choose the best you can afford. Farmers markets aren’t open year-round all over, so you need to choose the best source available to you. Miller says that if local, fresh veggies and fruits aren’t available, go for certified organics from the grocery store (the ones with the green and white label that indicates they are certified organic by the FDA). If that’s not available or it’s too expensive, choose frozen veggies. “Frozen is always better than canned. The canned foods have a lot of preservatives in them and they have a lot of sodium,” says Miller.

“It’s all about choices and making healthier choices,” says Miller. “It’s a matter of taking charge.”

Are you ready to take charge of your family’s health?

Tags:

Category: Healthy Life, Raising Healthy Kids

About the Author ()

Sarah Walker Caron is a freelance writer, editor and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in countless online and print publications including iVillage, BELLA NYC Magazine, Yum for Kids magazine and more. She lives in Connecticut with her two kids, two beagles and husband.

Comments (4)

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  1. This is good stuff! I am using this in my class. Wanda

  2. Chris says:

    Completely agree with ya! Children are to young and their brains are not developed enough to be in charge of their dietary habits. It really is up to us parents! Not only does feeding them healthy food help them grow better, and do better in their lives now, but it will set their habits for as they grow older. Very important topic, thanks for writing about it. :)
    .-= Chris´s last blog ..Discount Tire Stores =-.

  3. Emily says:

    I totally agree! As a parent we have to abide our responsibility to our children to take care of them, to teach them the right things to do, and most importantly to guide them in every decision they are going to make when they are in the right age.. While they are still young we have to be with them always.. Just a thoughts of mine!

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