News of the “childhood obesity epidemic” is not unfamiliar to most, but last week the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published projections that estimate almost 60% of kids today will be obese by the time they’re 35. Let that sink in – an almost entirely preventable condition will be commonplace for this generation of kids. What’s more, obesity is linked to a higher risk for some very serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
The NEJM projections do suggest that when obesity is resolved with a younger child, they are less likely to become obese as adults.
How do you know whether your child is overweight or obese? Ask their pediatrician. At annual well visits, parents will be provided with their child’s height, weight and BMI percentiles. If BMI exceeds the 85th-percentile, ask your child’s provider if their BMI is trending up, or consistently at that level. By definition children are overweight above the 85th-percentile for age, and obese above the 95th-percentile for age. It’s a red flag if your child’s BMI has increased year-over-year and exceeds the 85th-percentile. Seek nutrition counseling to better understand your child’s nutritional needs to meet physical growth and cognitive development for their age without exceeding calorie needs.
Having worked with overweight and obese children at Children’s National Medical Center, I have seen how impactful nutrition education can be for families combatting childhood obesity at home. I’d be happy to discuss this further, or help you find a dietitian in your area to speak with – because bringing up kids within a healthy weight range sets them up for better long-term health.
Sometimes one of my Instagram posts will solicit a lot of recipe requests. More often than not, when I cook, it’s sort of improvising with what fresh produce and pantry staples I have on hand – no plan, no measuring. In those cases, I can give you a list of the ingredients I used and wish you luck trying to recreate it. (Note to self: be better about tracking what I toss together and then I’ll have an actual recipe to share!)
Lucky for you, other times, I follow recipes closely and when I do that, I’m happy to share them! This Butter Chicken recipe is courtesy of That Clean Life (I edited just a bit from their original to add legumes and additional coconut milk). This calls for NO BUTTER by the way. Creaminess added from coconut milk – yum. You could easily add more veggies to this dish, too, carrots or cauliflower with the onions, or bell peppers with the chicken, or even baby spinach leaves right before serving.
Hope you enjoy!
12 ozs Chicken Breast
2 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Yellow Onion (diced)
2 Garlic (cloves, minced)
2 tbsps Ginger (grated)
1/4 cup Tomato Paste
2 tsps Paprika
1 tbsp Curry Powder
2 tsps Garam Masala
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1 can Coconut Milk (full fat)
1 can Chickpeas (drained) or 1 cup cooked lentils
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that my breakfasts are often pretty similar. While eating a wide variety of whole foods throughout the day is the best way to get necessary nutrients, sometimes following a routine can provide a predictable baseline for healthy eating. For me, a healthy breakfast routine sets me up to make good dietary choices through the rest of the day.
Most days my breakfast looks the same:
My breakfast routine is packed with two nutrients that fuel me throughout the morning (protein and fiber), so I can be productive all morning without needing to stop for a snack. Plus my breakfast is packed with healthy fats and antioxidants. And, bonus: it tastes great and is quick to prepare.
The breakfast above provides the following:
Carbohydrates: 38g (including 14g of fiber)
Fat: 18g (only 3g saturated)
What are your usual go-to meals for breakfast? Do you follow a routine?
Lunch should be a priority in your day; a time to fuel your body and mind to tackle the rest of your to-do list. Is your lunch game on point? Packing a lunch at home will often be healthier that buying lunch on the go – and it will always be more cost effective. Stock your fridge and pantry with items that provide a nutritious punch and can be combined in a variety of ways so you don’t need to have the same thing twice in one week.
Here is a full week of healthy lunch-time inspiration:
Monday: Green salad topped with half an avocado, sliced radish, sunflower seeds and feta cheese. Dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, a touch of whole grain mustard, salt and pepper.
Tuesday: Quinoa bowl topped with steamed broccoli, cherry tomatoes, toasted almonds, sliced onion and a handful of arugula. Dressing of olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
Wednesday: “Taco Salad” or greens topped with black beans, onions, bell pepper and avocado. Dressing of one part canola oil, one part plain yogurt, squeeze of lime, minced garlic, sprinkle of cumin and paprika, salt and pepper.
Thursday: Garbanzo bean salad with cherry tomatoes, onion and feta cheese and a handful of spinach. Dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic and a sprinkle of cumin or curry powder.
Friday: Green salad with blackberries, walnuts, avocado and feta cheese. Dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a touch of mustard, salt and pepper.
These ideas are vegetarian, and provide you with protein from nuts, seeds, grains and beans. However, you could easily add shredded chicken, flaked fish (fresh or canned), a hard boiled egg or even steak if you’d like.
Need a grocery list to get you through a week of homemade lunches? Here you go. But adjust it to your taste and come up with substitutions that work well for you!
Today I had the best breakfast. Basically avocado toast (which I love) but today I added some additional protein and heart healthy omega-3 fats from some canned sockeye salmon I had stashed in my pantry. Alongside a grapefruit, this was really satisfying and a tasty way to start my day!
Salmon Avocado Toast
Fat: 14g (2g saturated)
Little gems of nutrition information and meal inspiration provided by a registered dietitian to help make your day healthier one bite at a time.