When it comes to a Family Health Upgrade, meals, drinks and treats will be a big area of concern. Agreeing on a few simple changes can produce positive results, but might also raise loud complaints. Be prepared. If the family decides on a No Junk Food Policy the kids can become Nutrition Detectives at the grocery store and search out better choices.. You may have to do the reading, but scoping out ingredients labels on the foods is critical. If any form of sugar (words ending in …ose ) is first or second on the list, or the label lists additives no one can pronounce, find a healthier alternative. Don’t be fooled by 100 Calorie Snack Packs. In most cases the 100 calories have little food value, are high in sugar and cost too much. If you can, make your own snack packs. Buy in bulk. Homemade trail mix is a great way to go. Let the kids come up with their own blend as long as it’s low in sugar and high in food value. If the family agrees on a No Soda Policy be ready with some healthy drink alternatives. Pure, no sugar added, fruit juice, mixed with sparkling water is one alternative, “sun tea” is another. Check out all the flavors of herb tea available at the store and let the kids concoct their own blends. Tea, a big pitcher and cold water are all it takes to make a tasty drink.
Granted these suggestions are time consuming, but if you can mange it, a “Mystery Trip” to uncover “Health Treasures” at the grocery store can be fun and eye opening for everyone. Once shopping for healthy foods becomes like looking for treasure, the kids will really get into it. As for older kids, appealing to their sense of outrage can be helpful. When they start reading labels and realizing how much sugar and chemicals are in their favorite foods they will most likely want more healthy choices.
These are just a few ideas on how to approach Childhood Obesity from a positive, upbeat perspective. Children, like adults balk at restrictions. Banishing favorite foods without consideration isn’t the way to go. Instead try the suggestions mentioned above. Remember stay positive, keep it fun, enlist the kids creativity and your Family Health Upgrade will be off to a great start.
What has helped your family get started on a Health Upgrade?
What family member is apt to be hard to convince?
What worked to get him on board?