The statistics about our ability as a culture to create healthy eating patterns in children are alarming.
*One-third of children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes if they follow the Standard American Diet. (SAD is an accurate acronym).
*91% don’t get the recommended daily amount of vegetables.
*Only 8% of individuals and families meet goals they set for health at the start of each year.
How can we start to reverse some of these trends? Behavioral scientists have observed that humans tend to take the path of least resistance to avoid pain and suffering. As a nutritional counselor having helped tens of thousands of
children and families improve their nutrition and health, I’ve distilled advice down to three simple tips.
Start with an attitude of gratitude
Let’s make a point not to gobble down food while we are watching TV or engaged in other activities. Sit down and acknowledge the food you are about to eat. “These carrots look crunchy.” “This kale looks bumpy.” “These tomatoes look juicy.” Help your child develop a curiosity around food and also appreciate how it is important fuel for their growing bodies. Cars need fuel to make them go, right? We as humans need food to make us grow, work, study and play. Healthy foods give us the most energy and productivity. Expressing gratitude at meal times helps children understand the role of food as fuel and also as a way to gather. Studies show that families that sit down to meals together experience less risky behavior when kids are teens. Make sure you teach your kids that being grateful does not mean settling for less.
Red–promotes healthy heart and brain function
Orange/Yellow–great for skin/eyes and promote a healthy immune system
Green–builds strong bones and teeth
Blue/Purple–rich in antioxidants and good for the whole body
White–contains fiber and potassium and great for digestion
We are a social world, and social media is becoming more and more a part of mealtimes. People love to share what they are eating! Make this trend work for you by telling your kids about some exciting trends happening on
Instagram that allow kids to connect with each other across the world. Remember Flat Stanley, the book character that became flat and had adventures as a paper-thin character? Nowadays, kids cut out their own Flat Stanley, take pictures with him on their adventures and group their results under #flatstanley. To show kids that it is fun and social to eat healthy, many hashtags allow kids to connect about healthy eating habits. One example is
#blakeeatsarainbow, which groups pictures that kids take of their healthy food along with a character from a book about eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies. These trends are helping kids to feel that they are not alone when
they are told to “eat their veggies”. Four ways to create a high quality Instagram account.
View food as fuel and as your friend. Food is not the enemy. Be grateful, playful, and social. Have fun on your path to health and happiness.
About the guest blogger
Kathryn Kemp Guylay is an author, speaker, certified nutritional and coach with a master’s degree in business. She is the founder of Nurture, a national non-profit that provides wellness education to tens of thousands of
children and parents. As a sought-after wellness expert, Kemp Guylay is often interviewed by leading media and hosts her own radio show on wellness at KDPI-FM in Ketchum, Idaho. Her book, Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons from the Slopes won several awards and was a No. 1 Bestseller on Amazon in the snow-skiing category in 2015. She has an upcoming book, Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow. Learn more about it at www.giveitagoeatarainbow.com.