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5 Steps to Keep Your Family Slim

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5 Steps to Keep Your Family Slim

By now you have probably heard the alarming news: 65% of Americans are overweight – 30% who are obese. Our children’s generation is the first generation who will not live longer than their parents.

If you are not concerned about how inundated children are with junk food, the unacceptable levels of fattening foods in school cafeterias and how the majority of foods sold in the US are packed with chemicals – it’s time to start being concerned.

How to eat healthy, what to buy and understanding nutrition can be overwhelming for some people. So below are 5 very simple rules to live by to keep you and your family fit and healthy:

  1. Water, water, water, water and more water. Most children consume only juice, sodas, sports drinks or milk on a daily basis. Not only is water the healthiest drink option for kids and adults, but filtered tap water from a faucet is FREE. Dr. Marvin Kunikiyo says, “Drinking sodas is just as unhealthy as smoking cigarettes. And since the brain needs an abundance of water, children who are dehydrated have a much higher chance of suffering from mental health disorders like ADHD.”
  2. Modify everything you and your kids eat. Every meal has a healthier substitute. Here are some examples:

*            Eat a veggie pizza instead of pepperoni or meat
*            At McDonalds or other restaurants, swap the fries for apples or other fruit options
*            Swap all white bread for whole grain bread
*            Swap regular pasta or noodles for whole wheat noodles
*            Always swap sodas for water
*            Eat a peanut butter and sliced strawberry sandwich instead of PB&J

3. Avoid processed foods. It’s not just high-calorie foods that are killing us. It’s also the high-processed, high-chemical, high-preservative foods that are killing us as well (maybe in bigger ways than the calories). Most foods have a non-chemical or lower-chemical substitute.

*            Always buy fresh fruit – not canned or frozen
*            Always buy fresh vegetables – not canned or frozen
*            Buy organic milk, eggs, meat – you will pay more on the front end but save 10-fold on the back end with better health
*            Buy fresh deli meat – not packaged
*            Make home-made, fresh pizza – not frozen
*            Never eat hot dogs or other processed meats – these are the #1 cause of diabetes
*            Buy fresh bread from the bakery – not bagged bread

4. Keep all junk food out of the house. Why? If it’s in the house, both you and your kids will eat it. Save ice cream for special occasions. Save the pizza party for birthdays. Be very careful about what snacks you keep around the house. If you have a pantry of chips and cookies, of course you and your kids are going to choose the junk over something healthy. But if you only have fresh fruit, whole grain crackers, sugar-free yogurt, carrots, etc…then that is what everyone will eat when they are hungry.

5. Frisst die Haelfte – this is German for “Eat Half”. When the Germans diet, they enjoy their schnitzel, potatoes and pretzels – but they simply eat half. So in American terms, this means: When you splurge, instead of your normal 4 slices of pizza, eat two. Instead of 2 scoops of ice cream, eat 1. Cut your sandwiches in half. Instead of the jumbo burger, get the kid’s size. By eating half, you consume half the calories you normally do, so it’s simple math: you will effortlessly lose weight and still enjoy some of your favorite foods.

Don’t let your family be another statistic. You are responsible for the foods you keep in your house, how often you pack healthy lunches for your kids and how often you eat out in restaurants. Small, simple adjustments in your diet can have a tremendous impact on your family’s physical and mental health. Remember that old saying: You are what you eat.

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Kate Raidt Kate Raidt is author of The Million-Dollar Parent: How to Have a Successful Career While Keeping Family a Top Priority and founder of advantage4parents.com. She is also an alumnus of the Southwestern Company's summer work program. Kate is also the mother of two young children.
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