Thursday, July 24, 2008
Medical Reports: Smart Snacking
With all of the food choices out there, parents know it can be a challenge getting kids to eat healthy. Seven's Diana Diaz gets some expert advice on Smart Snacking.
WSVN -- Like all moms, Rosaura Echegaray wants her kids, 4-year-old Oscar and 3-year-old Gabi, to grow up strong and healthy.
Rosaura Echegaray: "Try to give them fresh fruit, healthy choices, make it accessible to them so they make those good choices."
And she has a reason to be concerned. University of Miami Nutritionist Lisa Dorfman says the state of Florida tips the scale when it comes to childhood obesity.
Lisa Dorfman: "We have the heaviest group of kids, or one of the heaviest group of kids, in the United States."
And bad eating habits now can lead to serious medical problems in the future.
Lisa Dorfman: "Cardiovascular risk factors, hypertension, diabetes in young kids, which was unheard of."
So Lisa says parents need to do their homework including reading food labels carefully. Some things parents think are healthy, like juice boxes, can be loaded with sugar.
Lisa Dorfman: "You always want to look for 50 percent less sugar because this has about three teaspoons of sugar per serving."
Cereal can also be loaded with sugar. Pick the low-sugar brands, but if your kids crave something sweet don't deprive them.
Lisa Dorfman: "Just mix the two together."
Of course snacking is an important part of any child's diet. Lisa says fresh fruit is always a great choice.
Lisa Dorfman: "You could take a banana, you could slice it up and freeze it, and they will think that it's ice-cream if you don't tell them."
Pre-packaged fruit snacks are fine too. Just look for words like "natural" and "no sugar added" on the label.
Or create your own snacks. Instead of the pre-packaged peanut butter and cheese crackers, which can be high in fat, make your own.
Lisa Dorfman: "This way you could choose the crackers that your kids really like to eat and they get to prepare it along with you."
Oscar and Gabi love to help mom make fruit smoothies in the blender, and this way Rosaura can keep track of what her kids are eating and guide them to make healthy choices even when she's not around.
Lisa Dorfman: "There's good choices out there, but it's just difficult to make them sometimes."
Lisa says parents need to be good role models. If you eat healthy and stay active your kids should follow.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
University of Miami