1. Kids’ Fitness – leading by example

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Just as we train them to be spiritually fit, let’s help our children be physically fit, too.

Teach by example: Eat breakfast every day. Don’t let your child learn the habit of skipping meals, which leads to overeating later in the day.

Reduce the amount of fast food you eat as a family.

Don’t promise dessert if your child eats their vegetables. Using dessert as a reward for eating vegetables causes kids to favor the food you’re placing more value on – the dessert.

And instead of filling their plate, give your child small servings and encourage them to ask for more if they’re still hungry. This helps children recognize their natural hunger cues.

Engage in activities as a family: Put away the video games and television, and take a walk, bike ride, trip to the park, or other activity instead – and when they are old, they will not depart from it!

2. Disguising Vegetables in Kids’ Food

“Help! My Kids hate vegetables!” No problem! Disguise them (the vegetables that is, not the kids!).

Here are some savvy chef ideas: Finely dice carrots, tomatoes and bell peppers into spaghetti sauce. Make muffins adding shredded pieces of zucchini and carrots. Sauté diced vegetables to soften them and add to meatballs or turkey burgers. Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower and carrots to pizza and cover with grated cheese and sauce.

You can puree veggies and add to soup or stew—it will look just like part of the broth. Mix grated or pureed vegetables into their pancakes or peanut butter—even macaroni and cheese or lasagna.

Increase the fiber content of meals by adding brown rice or barley to sauces, soups, salads and casseroles.

Disguise nutrition in what your children already enjoy and you’ll be adding important vitamins to help them grow.

3. The Snack Zone

Welcome to “The Snack Zone!” Snacks don’t have to be bad for you and your children. Take control! Label a section on your kitchen counter and a shelf in your refrigerator “The Snack Zone.” Remember to make healthful foods convenient (instead of going for pre-packaged “convenience foods”).

Keep a big bowl of fresh and dried fruits on the kitchen counter. Place a bowl of fresh fruit in the refrigerator. Go for seasonal favorites: cut up fresh cantaloupe, honeydew and strawberries one week, then watermelon, grapes and apples the next. Keep low-fat yogurt handy. Make the good drinks easily accessible: bottled water, herbal teas and homemade lemonade (with real lemons and good-for-you sweeteners like agave nectar or stevia).

And have you been developing the fruit of the Spirit lately? Check out Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – against such there is no law!

4. Family Meal time to fight eating disorders

You can help your children avoid developing an eating disorder by having sit-down family meals on a regular basis.

A study by the University of Minnesota found that girls who ate meals with their family at least 5 times per week had a 75 percent lower rate of unhealthy eating behaviors—such as abuse of diet pills, purging or chronic dieting. Boys who ate with their families also did well.

Researchers said having meals together as a family helps children learn healthful eating habits—parents can also keep an eye out for early signs of problems.

If you have a hard time getting everyone together for dinner because of busy schedules, start having breakfast together instead. It doesn’t seem to matter which meal the family has together. What makes the biggest difference is that the family meals take place on a regular basis. We also know that prayer and fellowship around the table make a big difference, too!

5. Hard Facts About Soft Drinks

Here are some hard facts about soft drinks. Americans drink over 13 billion gallons of carbonated drinks a year.

One can of regular soda pop has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories, caffeine plus artificial food colors and sulfites. But you say, “I drink diet soda.” Well, some experts say artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar, and make us crave more sweets and fattening foods. And many now link the chemicals in soft drinks to osteoporosis.

Obesity rates in children also seem connected to soft drinks. A British study found that for every soda a child drinks per day, their obesity risk jumps 60%. As a former overweight six-pack-of-soda-a-day girl, I believe it.

Instead of soda pop, drink water—or try sparkling water – add lemon or flavored stevia.

To answer another kind of thirst, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

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