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Health Should Come Easy For Today’s Children

The Health of our must be our First Concern

Children and HealthIn the past twenty years a lot has changed in the world of everyday foods. Not long ago, families woke up to a breakfast of orange juice made from a frozen concentrate, white toast with butter and jelly, scrambled whole eggs with bacon or sausage and a side of sugary cereal with low fat cow’s milk. This was the norm back then and slowly the norm seems to be changing. Today, it is much easier to give kids healthy super food options considering the plentiful amounts of new exotic super foods on the market- packaged and available for your everyday convenience.

Today, it is easy to wake up to a breakfast of Acai Berries or fresh squeezed orange or tangerine juice, or a freshly blended smoothie. The white toast and butter could easily be substituted with whole wheat, oatmeal or spelt bread-a drizzle of honey or real fruit jam on the side. The scrambled eggs and bacon can be substituted with scrambled egg whites or tofu scramble. The bacon replaced by one of the many available soy protein ‘bacon’ and ‘sausage’ options available in your grocers freezer. Sugary cereal can be replaced with whole grain cereals free of , flavors and sweeteners, yet still packaged to appeal to the scrutinizing eyes of children. Cow’s milk, which is high in saturated fat and hormones, can easily be replaced with soy, rice or even almond milk, all much healthier alternatives.

SNACKS: Goodbye Ring Ding’s and Ho Ho’s, hello Snackimals and Uncle Eddie’s

The snack world has always been a deal breaker for kids and healthy eating. Kids and candy go hand in hand and a childhood without treats would feel quite dull and deprived. But the definition of a treat is what is drastically changing in recent years. Back in the nineties, I recall seeing kids and teenagers toting treats for school snacks such as Hostess Donuts, Twinkies, Doritos, Fruit Snacks with gooey-green-sour-slime centers, and even bagels smothered in whole fat cream cheese. All of these choices are either high in sugar and/or high in saturated or trans fat. Not good. Today, the healthy snack marketplace is booming with healthy options for kids. There are cookies called Snackimals, high in flavor and fun yet low in fat and completely vegan. Healthy yet tasty granola bars and chips like Pirates Booty are also available and enjoyed as new age treats of today.

: Who needs vitamin pills when you have Vitamuffins, acai juice and soy.

Super foods are a hot trend. Super foods are foods that not only taste good, but offer some sort of healthy benefit or healing property. A few trendy super food qualities are omega fats, fiber, antioxidants, soy protein and phytochemicals. Companies like Navitas Naturals bring exotic super foods like goji berries into mainstream markets. Parents of kids today probably didn’t have such plentiful options for purchasing super foods. They would’ve had to venture into an advanced Health Food store to find such delicacies as almond butter, acai berry juice, kombucha tea and coconut water. But today it is easy! Parents can easily put super foods into the forefront of kids diets. There should be absolutely no excuse for unhealthy children who grow into unhealthy adults. If kids embrace this new world healthy norm, I’d predict that rates of heart disease and cancer will plummet. However, the marketing and finance departments have got to step in.

Marketing healthy foods to kids is tough especially when you have to compete against companies like Pepsi Cola, McDonalds and Hershey’s. These companies market mainly to kids and teens, cheap costing, low nutrition foods. However there are a number of companies that are trying to step in where health food marketing agents have failed. Websites introduce children to fruits and veggies at a young age by creating fun characters and selling gift and apparel items. Kids can learn about and fall in love with a favorite fruit or vegetable from a very young age. Click the link below to see my top ten superfoods list.

MY TOP TEN SUPERFOODS LIST

Here’s a list of what I believe are the top kid friendly super foods out there:

  1. Acai Juice: Companies like Samzabon, are packaging the juice of the Acai berry. Acai is very high in omegas, high in protein and fiber (for a juice) and rich in vitamins. It’s somewhat chocolaty taste makes for an excellent substitute for apple or grape juice.
  2. Soy, Rice and Almond Milk: It may seem like a simple substitution, but it will change your child’s life. Especially if your child suffers from lactose intolerance or asthma symptoms. Giving up cow’s milk and dairy products will be a huge boost in your child’s health, as they will benefit from the natural healing properties of soy, rice and almonds. You can learn about alternative milk ideas at http://www.silksoy.com
  3. Baby Carrots: OK, so you might think carrots are not very glamorous, but try setting a bowl of carrots and hummus dip in front of your child as an after-school snack and I promise they will catch on quickly. Baby carrots are sweet flavored and high in vitamin A. Nix the chips for carrots and you have done wonders.
  4. Coconut Water: A beverage trend in the marketplace today is pure coconut water. Coconut water is an excellent replacement for those sugary sports drinks your kid’s love. Twelve ounces of coconut water contains as much potassium as a banana and fifteen times the amount of potassium in an average sports drink. Plus no sugar and no fat means you are adding only 60 calories of refreshment to your diet. Try it and you’ll be amazed. Zico brand has different flavors like orange peel and passion fruit.
  5. Snackimals and Uncle Eddies: Ok we all love cookies, some of us prefer soft chewy flavors, and other like the sweet crispy crunch of a cookie bite. I have a healthy option for both tastes! If you like crispy cookies, try Snackimals brand cookies. Four flavors, all vegan and ridiculously healthier than your average trans fat containing grocery store brand. For soft cookie fans, try Uncle Eddies Vegan Cookies. Though the calorie content is still high, the nutritional value is leagues above traditional cookie brands.
  6. Fizzy Lizzy: Soda Pop addicts, I’m talking to you. Kids are synonymous with carrying around those 20 ounce bottles of high sugar, artificially flavored sodapop. But now there is an effervescent option! Fizzy Lizzy is just one brand that has reclaimed the carbonated beverage industry. If it’s bubbles you crave try this option with no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners, and you will be back on track and still satisfied. New lighter in calorie options from Fizzy Lizzy are even available.
  7. Kashi Mighty Bites Cereal: We’ve all dove into a big bowl of sweet cereal at some point in our lives, and its true that there’s nothing better….until now! Take a stroll with your kids down the health food cereal aisle and let them check out box covers galore. There are several kid themed cereal options with a hidden healthy ingredient list. Kashi’s Mighty Bites Cereal is just one great option.
  8. Farmers Market Produce: It’s fun, it’s yummy and it’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning with your kids. Turn off the cartoons and take a stroll through a local farmers or green market. Taste different foods and let your kids pick out their our produce. Give them a budget of ten to twenty dollars to buy whatever healthy foods they’d like. I guarantee they will use up the entire budget and love every minute of it. Afterwards, let them peruse The Lunchbox Bunch website and discuss all the different types of produce they saw.
  9. Jamba Juice: Fast food just got healthy. It’s simple, skip the burger joint and get a smoothie. You can even get a few sideline healthy treats like Pirates Booty and Luna Bars at most Jamba Juice joints. Try an all fruit smoothie, or ask to substitute the sherbet and frozen yogurt for fruit.
  10. Vitamuffins: Another cool innovation for this generation. Inside every yummy plump muffin are 100% RDA of many vitamins and minerals. It’s like a vitamin supplement only tastier! Vitamuffins are also very high in fiber and come in a few different flavors like blueberry and chocolate chip. Yum. Not vegan, however.

By: Kathleen Patalsky

Kathleen Patalsky received her B.S in Health Promotion from American University in Washington DC, and is the creator of The Lunchbox Bunch as well as The Coconut Water Diet. To contact her please visit her websites at http://www.lunchboxbunch.com or [http://www.coconutwaterdiet.com] or email Kathy@lunchboxbunch.com

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