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Teaching Your Children the Basics of Nutrition

By Donna Stark

When I was young, my mother used to make our very own sun tea on the porch in the backyard, she insisted on packing lunches that included all the four food groups for me to take school every day, and she rarely said "yes" to our puppy dog eyes when we passed a fast food restaurant. As I grew older, I decided that she was hopelessly out of sync with the rest of the world. But then, a few years ago, I started to think about how my family and I felt back in those days. How full of energy and vitality all of us were without the soft drinks, processed foods, and sugary snacks in our house. Anytime my siblings and I would cry for our favorite junk food, she would simply say, "They do nothing good for you." and hand us a piece of fruit or a glass of water before scooting us out of the kitchen.

It's hard to fight those temptations that prey on our sweet tooth, especially if you have children, but with a little creativity and some firm responses, you can keep your children happy, healthy, and full of energy. Just like my mom did. Here are some suggestions on how to incorporate more nutrition into their diets.

Discover Omega-3s

Omega-3s are especially important for young children because they are crucial for the development and health of the brain, heart, and nervous system. Grill some salmon, toss some flaxseed into a smoothie, and add plenty of dark leafy greens to your meals.

Eat a Rainbow

Eating plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables is important because each different "color" provides unique nutrients that aid in the growth and development of your child. Choose from mangoes, carrots, oranges, plums, blueberries, eggplant, grapes, watermelon, berries, broccoli, salad greens, green beans, squash, and bananas.

Toss Out Processed Food

Sure, they are colorful, tasty, and sweet, but that doesn't mean they are good for your child's body. Processed snacks are filled with sugar, fat, and empty calories, so avoid them at all cost! Offer plain yogurt with fruit, dehydrated fruit, baked pretzels, or nuts instead.

Skip the Sweet Drinks

The consumption of refined sugar has been implicated in many childhood health problems, from obesity to diabetes to dental decay, and most children get the majority of that sugar from sweetened beverages. You can avoid a lot of those issues by offering your child water at meals instead. It's a great way to incorporate one of the healthiest habits into their daily routine.

Old-Fashioned Advice

Improving your children's health the "old-fashioned" way and establishing healthy habits is easier to do than you think. Just start them off on the right path from the very beginning. The impact you make now will definitely have positive, lifelong results.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Bloomington, Minn.

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