There is no shortage of fad diets, “get-slim quick” advertisements, and exercise equipment infomercials splashed across the media. However, a doctor will tell you that your diet and overall physical activity are the most significant ways to maintain your health. As scientists and physicians discover more about how the different foods we eat interact with our bodies, the importance of a healthy diet is indisputable.
North Carolina has one of the highest rates of obesity in the nation — 32 percent of adults are obese and 31 percent of 10-17 year olds are obese in North Carolina.
West Cary Wellness is dedicated to helping people and their families achieve their optimal health and wellness and we encourage parents to take an active part in forming healthy eating habits for their children. With that in mind, here are seven items that parents should eliminate from their shopping lists.
There are no good reasons to drink soda. It is full of sugar, adds hundreds of unnecessary calories to your diet, and contains zero nutritional value. Soda can wreak havoc on your children’s teeth, contributing to cavities down the road due to the high sugar content. If you or your child are struggling to give up the bubbly, switch soda out for flavored sparkling water to curb your craving.
Along the same reasoning behind soda, juice is also full of sugar. Many parents are surprised to see juice on a list of unhealthy items because it is assumed that juice is simply concentrated fruit. While fruits do have several vitamins, they are actually fairly high in sugar. When the juice of a fruit is concentrated, it becomes even higher in sugar. For example, one serving of apple juice has 28 grams of sugar — almost as much as a can of soda! It’s best to eat the apple, which contains fiber and nutrients in the skin.
Candy is a childhood right-of-passage and there’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat when Halloween or Easter rolls around. Children should be able to enjoy their favorite chocolate bar when there is a special celebration or holiday. But, if there are bowls of chocolates and other sweets sitting around all year, this forms a habit of them integrating these sweet into their regular diet. Excess sugar intake can cause fluctuating blood sugar levels, with constant spikes and crashes. Behavioral problems, weight gain, and trouble sleeping are just some of the known associated pediatric responses to high levels of sugar intake.
While it’s tempting to count on the convenience and appealing taste of a sugary bowl of cereal splashed with milk, there is little nutritional value in these types of meals. The sugar high can even cause mid-morning crashes that could affect your child’s school performance. Instead, opt for something with longer-lasting energy like eggs, to get your kid off to a healthy start for the day.
Bread is a processed carbohydrate that quickly breaks down into simple sugars. When the grain of a bread becomes so refined that it becomes “white” it means that many of the nutrients have been stripped from the grain, and thus from the bread. Multi-grain breads and other natural “ancient” varieties may be marketed as healthier, but they will still drastically increase your child’s sugar intake. Instead of the bread, try opting for lettuce wraps or even salads.
Potato chips and French fries
Whether it’s potato chips, French fries or another form of fried potatoes, these carbohydrate-fueled starches contain high concentrations of unhealthy vegetable oils and are high in calories. The salt and oil used to cook and flavor these items are also unhealthy additives. When you’re craving a crisp addition to your favorite burger or sandwich, opt for green beans or kale chips instead.
The creamy goodness of a milkshake or ice cream is hard to turn down, but if you don’t keep it in the house, you won’t have access to it as often, making it easier to deter consumption. These sugary dairy snacks have a shocking amount of calories and many of them are in the form of simple carbohydrates. Dairy is also very inflammatory to your gut. Save ice cream as a special treat during the summer or for a fun family outing instead of keeping your own freezer stocked with the cookies n’ cream.
West Cary Wellness can help parents with dietary advice and planning
It’s hard to turn down appetizing treats or deal with a crying toddler who really wants that lollipop, but there are plenty of delicious and healthy ways that you can feed your family. Your family’s daily habits are critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet plays a big part. Call West Cary Wellness today if you would like more information on how we can help you and your family integrate a healthier diet into your family’s regular routine. We can be reached at (919) 303-1577 and proudly serve those in Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Chapel Hill, Durham and the surrounding Triangle communities.