Our children who were born in 2000 or after have been predicted to be the first generation in history to have a shorter life span than their parents. Why? It’s all based on nutrition and lifestyle or I should say “lack of good nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle.” This prediction comes from David Katz, a professor from Yale University. Dr. William Sears, America’s pediatrician and author of 40+ pediatric books, articles in parenting magazines, and our appearances on more than 100 television programs such as 20/20, Donahue, Good Morning America, Oprah, CBS This Morning, CNN, NBC's Today Show and Dateline, recommends living the L.EA.N. program.
L= Lifestyle: how you live
E= Exercise: how you move
A= Attitude: how you think
N= Nutrition: how you eat
If we all stop and think more about LE.A.N and start making progress in these areas we will create a healthier lifestyle for ourselves and our children. Children are far more likely to follow our example by how we live than by what we say about how we should live. Dr. Sears also states that 1/3 of our children in the US born in 2000 will become diabetic unless drastic changes are made in nutrition and lifestyle. Years ago diabetes was the “aging onset disease” and now we are seeing our children diagnosed with this disease at early ages.. It may be a challenge to get some children to eat what they need to eat. The average child will need to be exposed to a new food 15-20 times before attempting to try the food for the first time. Don’t give up! Children right away recognize “I eat right. I feel right” and “I eat wrong. I feel wrong.” If we keep the “good stuff” available and the “junk food” out of the house our children will make healthier choices. So what is the “good stuff?” Lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains! Did you know that walnuts are the best brain food we can feed our children? The average U.S. population is not getting enough fruits and vegetables in the diet. Remember the “5 a Day” slogan? It has now been replaced with “Fruits and Veggies-More Matters” This comes from the CDC and the Produce for Better Health Foundation. The reason? Under the U.S. government's latest food guidelines, five servings of fruits and vegetables may not be enough. Forget '5 a Day' – eating more is better. Adults need anywhere from 7-13 cups of produce daily to get all the health benefits of fruits and vegetables – including possible protection against obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Here are some ways to get more produce power into your diet:
• Experiment with new types of fruits and veggies -- like a broccoli slaw salad mix, or pomegranate juice. Remember that just because you didn't like certain fruits and veggies as a child doesn't mean you won't like them now. "Your taste buds change, and you will be pleasantly surprised if you give them another chance," says Ward.
• Vary the texture. Kids tend to like raw, crunchy fruits and veggies with low-fat dip. Try shredding veggies to top sandwiches or salads.
• Choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes for more potassium and beta carotene.
• Go easy on sauces. Instead, flavor vegetables with fresh or dried herbs and a splash of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
• Have a vegetarian meal at least once a week. It can be as simple as soup and salad, or a stir-fry meal.
• Eat a salad full of fruits and/or veggies each night with dinner. Just go easy on the dressing and Decorate plates with edible garnishes, like cucumber twists, red pepper strips, or cantaloupe slices.
• Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter and some cut-up vegetables in the refrigerator for healthy snacks.
• Freeze grapes and bananas for a refreshing and cool treat.