Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back to School -- Nutrition & Health


Those three words are music to all parents ears! But with a new school year comes busy schedules, frantic mornings, and after school activities that make it harder for parents and children to get nutritious meals.

It may seem easy to just rely on over-processed foods to save on time and money but foods consumed with high levels of simple carbohydrates (sugars) and little to no nutritional value can have a severe negative impact on your family's health.

The benefits of healthy eating for your teeth can be found here.

People today seem like they will only eat healthy foods if they have these three criteria:
  • Tasty
  • Quick and easy
  • Inexpensive
It's easier than people think to cut out over-processed foods and replace them with healthier, homemade options.

How, you ask? We'll break it down for you...

Always remember this phrase when making food choices: "What is the nutritional benefit of ____________?"

If the nutritional value outweighs the price or effort it's worth it!

Example: Tomato sauce.

When you choose a jar of ready-made tomato sauce over homemade sauce, you give up control on how much sodium and preservatives are in them. Making your own tomato sauce does take more time and effort than just opening a jar, but in the end it's worth it.

Swap out high sugar food items (your teeth will thank you!)

When you and your children are running late in the morning, instead of handing them a sugary pop tart, give them whole grain toast with peanut butter and bananas.

Prepare healthy meals ahead of time!

(And get the kids involved!) It's been proven that when children are part of meal preparations they are less likely to be picky about what they're eating!

The night before a school day:
  • Have your children slice bread and prepare it so that all that has to be done in the morning is pop it in the toaster oven!
  • Have your children pack their own school lunches.
Create a dinner menu for the week and prep anything that can be done the night before. This includes:
  • slicing vegetables
  • defrosting
  • marinating
This way all that needs to be done when you get home from work and school is to cook it.

Proper nutrition and food choices should be taught to children early and by example! Telling your children to eat their vegetables will have more of an effect if you're eating yours!

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