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Thinking Outside the Lunchbox

Chubby cheeks are no laughing matter. There was a time when children played outside until dusk, when meals were well-balanced and families sat down around the dinner table to enjoy quality time and a healthy dinner. With the advancement in technology, times have changed and outdoor recreation has been replaced with television viewing and other gadgets resulting in an epidemic of child obesity. It's time for parents to take away the remote control and think outside the lunchbox to motivate activity back in to their children's lives.

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, 43% of adolescents watch more than two hours of television each day. It is reported that the leading causes of overweight children are lack of physical, activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of the two, as well as genetics playing an important role.

Child obesity leads to several risk factors including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as several emotional factors including self-image and diminishing confidence. Additionally, the US Department of Health & Human Services reports that 70% of adolescents have a chance at becoming obese adults. This number increases to 80% when the child has one or more parent overweight or obese.

There are several fun ways to take back the reigns and redirect your family's lifestyle. It's important to remember that children require food that's nutritious, energizing, and easy to eat on-the-go, like fresh fruits and vegetables. When making this change, keep in mind that healthy food can be delicious too. Your positive attitude can make a huge difference.

Gerry Morton, CEO of EnergyFirst, suggests including some of the following healthy alternatives:

  • Shaping healthy sandwiches with cookie cutters to make the ingredients seem more exciting and intriguing.
  • Replace the greasy fried potatoes with baked alternatives.
  • Increase the portion of fruits and vegetables and use more exotic choices like kiwis and mangos instead of the typical apples and bananas.
  • Select beverages made with real fruit juice and avoid sodas and high calorie drinks or include smoothies for another tasty way to incorporate an additional serving of fruits and veggies.
  • Including a healthy treat, like a granola bar or dried fruit.

The more challenging part will require some thinking outside of the lunchbox. It is important that you lead by example and encourage physical activity, which will require participation. Here are some fun ideas to get your kids outside and active:

  • Set a positive example by staying physically active yourself and making physical activity a part of your family time by encouraging the children to join you in walking the dog or other fun activities like swimming, skating, dancing, or playing ball.
  • Provide your children with toys that will require activity and take them places where they will need to be active.
  • Make activities fun and encourage involvement by showing your interest in what they are doing.
  • Provide safe environments for your children and their friends to play.

Since every family is unique and faces their own challenges, we recommend that you work together on finding strategies that will work for you. There are several resources online that will help you find strategies to fit your lifestyle needs. Additional snacking tips can be found by visiting Healthy Snacking Tips for you and the kids!.

Gerry Morton, CEO of EnergyFirst, holds an MS in Nutrition and is an experienced athlete who has competed in 30+ marathons and 4 Ironman triathlons. Gerry is an excellent source of information on nutrition, supplementation and exercise. Since 1997, he has been educating and motivating others on how to attain peak performance. For more information , please visit www.energyfirst.com or em

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EnergyFirst, a leading company in the all-natural protein and supplement industry, was founded in 1997. We, at EnergyFirst, believe that everyone can benefit from drinking a protein shake whether the goal is optimal nutrition in a meal replacement, an easy and healthy breakfast alternative, a weight loss aid, or a protein supplement for athletes. We also believe that your protein shake should be 100% natural and delicious. Nutritionist, educator, athlete, and EnergyFirst's CEO, Gerry Morton is committed to providing customers with all natural, science-based, effective products for optimal nutrition, weight loss, and a healthy lifestyle.

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