Monday, April 20, 2009

Off to a Good Start

I recently read "The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood" by William Sears, M.D., Martha Sears, R.N., James Sears, M.D., and Robert Sears, M.D. I was in the middle of it when I came across this article which states that 18.4% of 4-year-olds in the United States are obese. 4-year-olds!

Although "The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood" is directed to parents (particularly those with young children), the information put forth would be beneficial to everyone. At the beginning of the book, the authors list 10 changes every family must make. The rest of the book is devoted to explaining how and why to make these changes. I've listed them below, along with some examples.

1. Shape young tastes early.
2. Feed your family the right carbs. (fruits, beans, peas, nut butters, soy foods, veggies, whole grains, yogurt)
3. Feed your family the right fats. (avocado, flaxseed oil, nut butters, nuts, olive oil, seafood, seeds)
4. Feed your children grow foods. (avocados, beans, blueberries, eggs, flaxseed meal, nuts, oatmeal, salmon, spinach, tofu, tomatoes, yogurt)
5. Feed your family fill-up foods. (apples, beans, beef, cheese, cherries, eggs, fish, grapes, nuts, oatmeal, olive oil, oranges, salads, soybeans, vegetables, whole-grain breads and pasta)
6. Begin the day with a brainy breakfast. (A brainy breakfast includes protein, fiber-filled carbs, omega-3 fats, and minerals such as calcium and iron.)
7. Raise a grazer.
8. Feed your child's immune system. (chili peppers, cold-water fish, flaxseed oil, fruits, olive oil, nuts, spices, vegetables, whole grains, wild game meats)
9. Raise a lean family. Get active as a family.
10. Teach your children to be wise supermarket shoppers. (mainly shop the perimeter, buy whole grains, buy mostly grow foods, read labels carefully)

The authors note that by not feeding your children anything containing high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils ("trans fats"), or any color additive with a number symbol attached to it (e.g., blue #1, yellow #5, red #40), you'll have gone 90% of the way toward de-junking your child's diet.

You can find a wealth of information at


  1. I completely agree that we need to help our kids be healthy eaters. I think it starts at home and by setting a good example for our children. We try to eat a lot of colors (in fruits and veggies) everyday.

  2. I think it needs expanding on number 7 "Raise a grazer". I'd like to devote a whole post to this, though for right now, I'll just say this:

    Forget the old idea of "3 meals a day" ~ snacking (healthful snacking, of course) is easier on our digestive systems, and allows for a lot more variety throughout the day. It also allows us to keep in touch with our own body, paying attention to our body's hunger cues, instead of a clock. I think that point is really key, so I'm going to say it again: Allow yourself and your children to listen to your/their body. If you, or they, are hungry ~ eat. If you/they are not ~ don't! :) Not everyone is hungry at the same exact time, so sitting everyone down to eat at the same exact time doesn't make sense!