Reporting Natalie Nyhus
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Summer break is almost here, and when the kids are home from school, that means more mouths to feed.
Nutritionist and fitness expert Kim Coventry (also known as “Fit Kim”) showed WCCO-TV some funs tips on how we can help our children eat healthy.
“Studies are showing that by 2030 if our society continues as it is, we are looking at 50 percent of the population being obese, including children,” said Coventry. “I think it’s time we rethink everything and know that we can teach our kids to be healthy.”
Coventry said it’s a great idea to take children with you to the grocery store, though it can be a challenge to get them to see beyond the colorful packaging.
“If you can teach them to be your little detectives, you’re going to get them engaged,” said Coventry.
One of the most important lessons you can teach them is the ABC’s of reading labels. Depending on their age, they should be able to read most of the ingredients in what you pull off the shelf. Coventry said, if they can’t pronounce some of those ingredients, it’s a safe bet to presume they aren’t the healthiest option.
Coventry also espoused the concept of thinking outside the box — the juice box, that is.
“Go to the nutrition facts instead of getting all the marketing hype,” she said.
Keep an eye out for high fructose corn syrup, an ingredient she says is to be avoided for its reported links to diabetes.
There are some juice boxes that emerged as better than others. Coventry said that while some contain 100 calories and dozens of grams of sugar, she found a Power Rangers drink that had only 30 calories and 5 grams of sugar. And no high fructose corn syrup.
The old saying “give someone a fish and they’ll have a meal for the night, teach them how to fish and they’ll be fed for life” also applies to packing lunches.
“At a very young age, kids are more than capable of making their own lunch. And it will save you some time,” she said. “Teach them fresh whole grains for bread, lean meat, and avoid cheese and mayo. You can add mustard or hummus. You want to side it with some veggies and fruit.”
Coventry said the key is to make sure you’re educating your children about what they’re eating, which requires you as a parent to do the research.
“Use that as your motivation, because everything you teach them is going to help them all of their lives.”
And of course, all of these healthy eating tips naturally also apply to adults year-round.