In honor of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, this September take a pledge with your family to make healthier, more nutritious choices every day.
Enjoying a well-balanced diet is a good idea to meet nutritional needs, just remember to be mindful of what foods are selected. Some foods have more saturated fat, added sugar and salt than others, so when we have a choice, choosing the foods with smaller amounts of those ingredients is better for our heart, brain and body.
Changing the way a certain food is prepared can be more beneficial for health by decreasing calories and fat. For example:
- Choose whole-grain pasta and top with a vegetable-based sauce, such as marinara.
- Have chicken and fish grilled or baked instead of fried.
- Switch a sugary dessert for fresh seasonal fruit.
- Buy nonfat or low fat milk, yogurt and other dairy products.
- When making or ordering a salad, choose vinaigrette dressings and skip high-calorie add-ons like bacon and cheese.
The key to making any change is to take things one step at a time. Small, gradual changes are more likely to result in lasting lifestyle changes than making radical alterations. Choose one item to focus on, such as drinking more water, and gradually work toward your goal. Once you have accomplished that goal, add in another item.
Get started with some of these easy switches suggested by our Fit4Allkids experts:
Choose More Often Choose Less Often
Grilled Chicken Fried Chicken
Lean beef or pork Ground chuck
Baked, grilled or broiled fish/seafood Fried seafood or fish
Nonfat milk and dairy Milkshakes
Fresh fruit Fruit snacks
Fresh veggie and hummus Chips and dip
Fruit infused water Fruit juice
Low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit Ice cream sundae with candy
Unsweetened flavored sparkling water Soda
Roasted veggies Mashed potatoes
Baked sweet potato wedges French fries
Pasta with marinara sauce Pasta with Alfredo sauce
Oil & vinegar salad dressings Creamy, cheesy salad dressings
It is OK to enjoy an occasional treat — just be sure to watch your portion sizes, choose healthy options the majority of the time and incorporate an hour of active play into your family’s daily schedule.