The Significance of Excellent Nutrition
The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that occurrences of childhood obesity and malnutrition are increasing. Subsequently, cases of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis are also on the rise. More children are being seen for these disorders today than ever before.
In the 1940’s, overweight children made up a modest 13% of the population, whereas today the numbers are pressing 50%. Of these overweight children, 12% are obese and another 7% bear risk of obesity. We now know so much about excellent nutrition and have a wealth of information at our fingertips. With more regular doctor check-ups than ever, why are our children suffering from what basically is an absence of good nutrition?
Children no longer come home from school to play outside in the backyard. They wait in daycare centers or are enrolled in extracurricular programs. Hectic lifestyles have more than half of elementary school kids missing breakfast and bringing prepackaged snack foods to school. Even though school lunch menus are more closely monitored for nutritious content, this one potentially wholesome meal is not sufficient to satisfy the need for child’s nutrition.
Critics cite the fast food phenomena as a major contributor to our current nutrition crisis. More families find it easier to catch their meals on the run than to take the time to prepare a nutritious home-cooked meal. There are however more healthy alternatives in the fast food arena today, so a bit of education and forethought can help families make better choices and perhaps avoid some of the fast food pitfalls.
Part of the challenge is the sheer amount of information available to us, some of it more reliable than others. Even well-educated people have a hard time separating fact from marketing. Carbs and proteins, fats…good and bad, processed foods, sugar-free products, “natural” ingredients; it boggles the mind. Often, we stick with what we have always done, making few adjustments that stick.
Bad Nutrition Habits are Hard to Break
Nutritional experts have tried to provide basic guidelines, giving a dietary direction toward better nutrition. Try to follow these rules for a month and you’ll have taken steps on the right path.
Start by drinking more water. Actively avoid beverages with a high sugar content like sodas and caffeinated drinks. A common-sense elimination, or at least reduction, of empty calories you really don’t need.
- Eat more! It seems counter-intuitive, but eating more often will keep cravings at bay and your metabolism working. Have breakfast, lunch, and dinner with snacks in between, minding what you eat.
- Fist-sized portions are appropriate and will be more satisfying as you become accustomed to a smaller portion.
- Substitute whole grain or whole wheat options for carbohydrates in your nutrition plan.
- Check ingredients. The first on the list are the highest volume content per serving. If the first four listed are hydrogenated fat, high fructose corn syrup, sodium, or sugar it is best to avoid eating that food altogether. Perhaps a healthier alternative is available? If you must indulge, then practice moderation for this particular food item.
- Multivitamins are of course available, however once again we are faced with value vs marketing confusion. It’s best to gain your nutrients from the food you consume if at all possible.
- Vegetables and fruit should dominate your diet. Natural and organic sources are recommended. Eat more of these than anything else.
- You can still eat out, just keep it to once a week, less if you can, and look for healthy options where possible.
- Make the effort to consciously take some exercise every day. Whether it’s walking the dog, cleaning the house or going to the gym, do a bit each day. Make it fun and include the family!
- When you do your shopping, don’t opt for the easy junk foods and snacks thinking you will make them last. You won’t, and you’ll buy more when they run out. They’re easy and convenient (and yummy!) so will be consumed first. If you have a craving for a particular snack then stop while you’re out and get one, just don’t stock them up at home. You’ll save money and keep yourself from snacking too often.
- Set a cut-off time at least two hours before time to go to bed and resolve to stop eating at that point.
- Finally, and most importantly, establish the right mind set. Keep the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” firmly in your thoughts and consider it whenever you plan to eat something. Fad diets should be avoided as well. Most set you to fail and aren’t truly healthy. Better to just eat wisely.
These are some pretty simple and straightforward guidelines that will help you get started. As you begin to implement them you’ll find more ways to enhance your nutrition profile. Honestly, most of us already know these guidelines but as life gets busy and we are raising our families, we get a bit lost.
You must make yourself and your family the priority. Don’t give your car better care than you give your family. Remember “You are What You Eat” and act accordingly. Begin implementing these guidelines and facilitate a new level of understanding that will serve you and your loved ones better going forward.
Allen Café can help! We offer a diverse selection of home-cooked breakfast and lunch menu items which are a healthier choice than most fast food options. Come enjoy our restaurant and spend some quality time with your family having a home-cooked meal, even on your busiest of days!
ABOUT ALLEN CAFE:
We are one of the premier Restaurants in Allen,
TX, offering home-made lunch and breakfast in
Allen, TX . Come visit us today at: 302 E. Main St,
#200, Allen, Texas 75002, Phone : 972-747-0151