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Healthy Kid Tangent

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Ways to keep your child active and eating healthy
09/11/2013

I remember when I was in junior high; there was one “big boned” kid. Now, experts use terms like epidemic, pre-diabetic, and obesity to describe what’s happening to kids today. A mixture of video games, social media and Flaming Hot Cheetos are making overweight the norm.

Fighting childhood obesity starts simple: feed your children healthy foods and be active with them. My sister-in-law calls healthy food “grow food” and I love that idea. The biggest thing is to get your children eating vegetables at a young age and continue that trend. Fruit should be an easy sell; it’s sweet so most children have no problem eating it. Fruit can be a dessert. There is no parenting or nutritional guide that says, “Kids need sugary snacks.”

The sky-rocketing rate of diabetes should scare you into making your kids eat healthy. You do not have to become a secret food agent and sneak kale into milkshakes but here are some easy cooking tips:

• Place veggies in any egg/omelet you make
• Keep placing veggies on their plate
• Cut up sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini and use them in tacos
• Macaroni and cheese, a staple, is easy to add peas to
• Have them help you make an individual pizza and lay out veggies

Health Kid Tangent photo 1x

King of the zucchini!

Fruits are even easier to add to meals. We have to give my two-year-old fruit at the end of the meal and not earlier, or he will only eat the fruit. Almost every meal ends with some fruit for us..With the increasingly high price of fruit, I often buy frozen berries. When the fresh fruit I buy is close to its last leg, I blend it up and then freeze it in ice cube trays or make my own popsicles. I have given popsicles to guests, and they love them! I usually add a little Greek yogurt and water to add protein and cut down on the sweetness. Last week I took all my frozen fruit ice cubes and added a few cups of lemonade, and made an icy fruit punch. My guests drank up the punch and thought it was “fancy.” In general, kids will portion themselves and stop eating when they are full. I’ve noticed with fruit and sweets that it’s best to watch their eating size.

Another food many children skip is protein. I often hear clients tell me their kids love carbs. Since it is essential for brain development and muscle growth, keep protein on the plate. I am lucky; my toddler loves meat and even fish. With all foods, it’s about exposure. Keep cooking or ordering lean meats. The most popular meal in my house is lamb burgers and sweet potato fries (you can make them in your toaster oven by cutting up potato strips thin, place a little olive oil on top and bake for 15-20 minutes). I know people are allergic to everything from strawberries to raw carrots, and especially nuts. If your child is not allergic to nuts and tree nuts, those are great snack foods. If you have a toddler, break the nuts in half or quarter so they don’t choke.

The last area I want to touch on is what my mom called “the idiot box.” I am guilty of turning on the television and letting my son veg out while I do something. I want to shower, or make dinner and my wife is not around, I might throw on some Dora and get to work. However, we go to the park a few times a week, sometimes a few times in one day.

Health Kid Tangent photo 2

Out of gas again?! Gotta push this puppy to the station.

Getting your child active does not have to involve expensive gym classes – it starts with parents. Lead by example and your child will follow. Take your kids on walks, bike rides, and parks. My son has an obsession with birds, so he will literally run around our house or a park chasing birds (I’m hoping this is somewhat normal). Whether it’s your backyard, the neighborhood, or your house, create a space for them to move around. Let your child see that exercise is part of your life. I work out in front of Henry all the time. He usually jumps right in tries to do whatever I’m doing. I have to stop using bands and kettlebells around him for obvious reasons. Somehow bands always end up around his neck.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, how do you keep your kids healthy? Send me your favorite recipe, exercise, activity, etc. …

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A September to Remember

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09/11/2013

A September to Remember photo

Now that summer has officially ended (even if the A.C. is still pumping) we can try and move on and embrace the fall season. And I believe that for every season you need something new – a new bag, a new man or maybe just a new attitude. So, while the magazines are telling you about all those things you need to be wearing, like those ridiculous calfskin Fendi lace up boots, I'm going to tell you the five things you actually need and more importantly can probably afford.

1. A big smile
Since moving to a new city about a month ago, I decided to wipe the puss off my face and start smiling at people more. The reality is I need to make some new friends and that doesn't really happen when you look like you’re taking a mug shot. If you're really lucky and live in a city where you have all the friends you need well then stop reading now. If you're the other large majority where you find your friends dwindling after college maybe it's time to make some news ones. Start flashing your pearly whites and see who you meet.

2. Something from your Alma Mater
It's football season. Represent.

3. Something for Y-0-U 
Summer shenanigans are over and it's hard not to be a little depressed. Who doesn't love fruity umbrella drinks and sunglass tans? I know I do. I also know that if winter is anything like it was last year it is going to be very long and chilly. So this fall if your indulgence is those calfskins boots go for it. If it's an entire box of cookies and a Friends marathon, go for that too.

4. A new routine
And no I don't mean adding in a gym work out after you get home from work. But, doing the same thing every day gets beyond boring. It's too easy to settle into and on top of that routines can be fun-suckers. Try a different route home from work, or if you’re really adventurous, venture into a new neighborhood on the weekend.

5. A trip to see your friends
I know I need one. And I know that's easier said than done, but if all your friends live on the same continent it's time to plan your own welcome week-style reunion. (So maybe you forgo the calfskin boots.) It's always fun to see your friend who lives in a different city, but how many times a year do all your friends get together? Maybe zero to negative one. Even if it's just a long weekend it's time to forget about work and responsibilities for five minutes and remember the good old days when that never existed, because these are the only people that can make that happen.

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