According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a poor diet can increase the risk for lung, esophageal, stomach, colorectal and prostate cancers. Individuals who eat fast food one or more times per week are at increased risk for weight gain, becoming overweight and obesity. The month of October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month and Dr. Yum suggest 5 tips to create a healthier eating environment for the family.
“Studies have shown that families that cook and eat together are closer and, in general, healthier,” affirms explains Dr. Nimali Fernando, a pediatrician who founded The Doctor Yum Project. “With the rising rate of obesity, now more than ever, it’s essential to focus on what we feed and teach our children about nutrition and food.”
The United States Department of Agriculture states that October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month, devoted to emphasis family meals that are nutritious. Here are five tips from Dr. Yum for parents to create a healthy environment at home during Eat Better, Eat Together Month:
Get Organized. With families busier than ever, it’s important to get organized. Make a weekly mealtime plan to avoid multiple trips to the grocery store. Prep ingredients on the weekends to cut down on cooking time on busy nights. Make dinners like soups and casseroles so you can have home cooked leftovers on your busiest nights.
Get Everyone on Board. Teaching kids the importance of choosing healthy ingredients can never start too early, so get every family member involved. Take turns picking what’s for dinner, and let everyone participate in the fun of cooking. Try healthy recipe sites like doctoryum.com, which has kid-tested, pediatrician approved recipes that will please your pickiest eaters.
Drink Water. Sugary soda drinks, even those with artificial sweeteners, are directly connected to weight gain. Instead, encourage everyone to drink more water, to stay hydrated and healthy. Try making different “fruit waters” by adding slices of your favorite fruit like tangerines and a some herbs like mint to make your water more exciting.
Snack Smart. After a long day of school, most kids want a snack when they get home. Remember if your snack says “snack” on it, it’s probably not a great snack! Stock your shelves with healthy alternatives, such as carrots or apples, instead of chips and cookies for a light, healthy snack time.
Cooking Classes. Enroll your children in a kid’s cooking class, focused on a healthy, plant-based diet to educate them on the best way to feed their bodies. The Dr. Yum Project offers cooking classes for kids in age groups that include 3 – 6-year-olds, 7 – 12-year-olds, 12 – 18-year olds and now they are offering classes for adults as well.
“It is never to early to educate children and parents about the vitality of eating healthy,” affirms Fernando. “If we can move from a culture of convenience to a culture of wellness, where families cook and eat together, we can see childhood obesity rates reversing.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit the site at www.doctoryum.com.