Life today moves very quickly and we are always looking for the latest quick fix or new gadget to make our lives easier. But cancer doesn’t work that way. It’s a chronic disease that develops slowly over time and can be the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices. Research shows that one-third of all cancers diagnosed today are caused by a poor diet, and that obesity could surpass smoking as the top cause of cancer in the next ten to fifteen years.
This week is Every Kid Healthy Week and the perfect time to make sure the kids in your life learn about the importance of nutrition. We want to help you set your kids up for a lifetime of wellness by teaching them healthy habits at a young age. Here are Dr. Ann Kulze’s top tips for encouraging your children to eat healthy.
1. Stock your home with plenty of healthy snacks
Keep fresh-cut fruits, veggies, nuts, crackers, low-fat cheeses and other healthy options on-hand for snacking. If junk food is not there it’s not an option!
2. Pack a healthier lunch
Each lunch should include a healthy protein (turkey, tuna salad and egg salad are good options), at least one piece of produce, a calcium-rich food (low-fat yogurt or cheese) and a fun food (trail mix, whole fruit snacks or dark chocolate).
3. Spend Less Time on the Couch
Limit your children’s screen time to less than two hours per day. Make sure they are getting at least one hour of activity every day.
4. Cut out excessive fats and sweets
Make sure your child is drinking plenty of water. Sodas, fruit juice and sports drinks are filled with sugar so these should be a very rare treat. Limit the availability of fast food and processed foods that are loaded with unhealthy fats and salt.
5. Be a healthy role model
Your children look up to you in so many ways. Always use positive language and an upbeat, cheerful attitude when discussing food and eating habits with your children. If you’re making healthy choices a priority, they will follow suit.
Every parent faces the struggle of getting their children to eat healthy foods. By enforcing healthy habits now, you are setting your children up for a healthy future. For more information on the relationship between a healthy lifestyle and cancer and for recipe ideas, visit preventcancer.org.