Lean Body Fat Wallet
Discover the Powerful Connection to Help You
Lose Weight, Dump Debt, and Save Money
By Danna Demetre and Ellie Kay
(Thomas Nelson – Dec. 10, 2013)
(pg. 186) HEALTH
There is a troubling and obvious trend manifesting all over America.
You can see it every time you are out in a crowd—at the mall, an amusement park, or even church. It is visible, it is growing, and it is significant. The problem is the increasing number of not only overweight but also truly obese people. But the most troubling fact of all is that many, many of those people are children!
I (Danna) am very concerned as I watch more and more kids choosing television and video games over going out and riding bikes or actively playing. In my neighborhood, I see more youth on motorized scooters than ever. When our now-sixteen-year-old adopted grandson was younger, we implemented intentional timelines for watching television or playing video games so that he never developed a habit of sitting in front of a screen for endless hours. One year in junior high when his grades were not reflecting his ability, we acted on a previously set boundary and sold his Xbox game system. He was very unhappy, but two years later, he admitted the Xbox was a waste of time, and it had become too easy to “zone out” on mindless activity.
It’s Not My Fault!
If you spend any time at all with eleven- to seventeen-year-olds, you will hear the words “It’s not my fault” far too frequently. In recent years, there have been numerous criticisms and even threats of legal action against fast-food companies and other food-industry promoters of the American fat epidemic. But let’s be completely honest and ask ourselves the right questions such as, “Are these companies telling us their products are healthy? Are they force-feeding us their supersized, calorie-dense products?” Of course they are not. We willingly line up, drive through, and dig into their burgers, side orders, and desserts with gusto.
The important question is this: Whose responsibility is it to choose the foods we eat and to live the lifestyles we live? Do we depend on American marketing to tell us what is good for us? That is absolutely absurd. That being said, our children are certainly not informed enough to discern wisely for themselves how they should eat and live for maximum health. That responsibility is up to parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the like.
So what kind of mentor are you to the observers in your life? And I don’t mean only children. Wives influence husbands and vice versa. Friends influence each other. And most importantly, parents are the key role models for their children. When Dad starts the day with coffee and a doughnut, what does that tell your son? And when Mom skips breakfast altogether, what example does she set for her adolescent daughter? The influence is great . . . the responsibility even greater.
If you don’t want your son or daughter to be one of the increasing numbers of children who will have type 2 diabetes before they reach college, then you must take responsibility now. If that isn’t a great incentive, I don’t know what is!
Growing Healthy Kids
Getting young children to eat healthfully is a huge challenge. The suggestions below will help parents and grandparents understand some important factors that influence young ones toward a lifestyle of healthy choices. Adults and children have their own unique responsibilities when it comes to mealtime. A child’s responsibility is to chew and swallow. The parent’s responsibility is to provide a variety of healthy foods in a relaxed environment. When these lines are crossed or confused, mealtimes can become very unpleasant.
It is important for parents to realize that every eating experience is an adventure for your child. There are many skills required for young children to master eating—from grasping a fork to capturing a roll-away pea, not to mention simply getting something slippery or scary-looking into their mouths and swallowing. Young children engage most of their senses (smell, touch, sight, and taste . . . sometimes even sound) when they are discovering and eating foods. They love to feel it squish or crunch in their little hands and often will play with it before it enters their mouths. Of course, we should accept that of our twelve- to twenty-four- month child. At six years old, food experiments at the dinner table are unacceptable.
Parents need to slow down and approach mealtime with the same wonder and amazement as the child experiences, realizing it takes at least eight exposures to a new food before a child can actually develop a positive taste for that food—no matter what his or her age. My son’s sixteen-year-old girlfriend has had very limited exposure to the wide variety of foods our family eats. Sometimes I hear him prodding her on, saying, “Come on . . . try it . . . You’ll like it!” I remind him that he hated avocados and artichokes until he’d experienced them many times—all the while smiling inside as I realize he’s responded in healthy ways to our gentle, yet persistent encouragement to try new, healthy foods. Today he’s on the varsity football team and is one of the strongest offensive and defensive linemen—thanks in part to healthy foods!
Your taste buds actually grow and mature as they are exposed to a variety of new tastes and textures. Unfortunately, most parents give up after one or two negative experiences, convinced that “Johnny just hates vegetables.” But the truth is that Johnny never really got a chance to develop a taste for those veggies. Mom or Dad caved in to his initial negative response, and Johnny is ultimately the loser as his little body is shortchanged by not receiving all the incredible nutrients God power-packed into many healthy foods.
There are four types of taste buds: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. The sweet taste buds are strongest at birth and also surge in puberty, especially in girls. If we do not foster development of the other kinds of taste buds by introducing foods that promote their growth, our children will never learn to enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods. So how do we get our kids to even try foods that challenge their “sweet sensibilities”? Creativity, persistence, and patience are essential. The objective is to find something that will motivate your children to at least put the food in their mouths. Here are several ideas to help you in that quest:
CREATE “TASTE MOTIVATION” FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
If your child is into dinosaurs, then talk about foods such as asparagus or broccoli being “dinosaur” food. Tell them that one reason dinosaurs were so strong was because they ate lots of green foods. (Hopefully, they won’t ask you if that’s why they are extinct also!) Talk about how some foods build muscles (boys love that), make their hair shiny, or give them lots of energy to run faster and jump higher.
Give Them Tasty Condiments
You don’t have to be a complete food purist. Realizing that your child’s sweet taste buds are the most developed, you may want to add a slightly sweetened dip for fruits and veggies that are still not on your child’s “favorite” list. Some kids simply want a flavor they recognize, such as butter or chicken broth, in some foodsMost active children can handle the few extra calories that help them enjoy the foods they need most but are resistant to trying.
Dealing with the Veggie Rejecter
You may have a child who clenches his teeth and begins a forceful standoff anytime veggies are even mentioned. Take heart. There are five fruits that provide very similar nutritional value to many key veggies. They include kiwis, mangos, cantaloupe, strawberries, and apricots. You can also sneak carrot juice and “super green” supplements into fruit smoothies or protein shakes, and they won’t even know it. Don’t ever stop offering veggies to your kids. Research shows that children who are introduced to vegetables early in life will return to them in their teens and adulthood.
Stay tuned for part 5 next Friday!