Kohl's Kids in Action
Mercy Children's Hospital
Childhood Obesity Prevention
& YOUR CHILD
Teach your child how to eat a rainbow! Each color of fruit and vegetable contains particular nutrients to help your child grow. Fresh fruits and vegetables are at their brightest colors when in season. Use the chart on the left to create fun games and activities for your kids.
THE EFFECT FOOD HAS ON BEHAVIOR
When levels of sugar in the blood rise and fall, the brain doesn’t get its steady fuel supply and behavior and learning become more unpredictable. Blood sugar levels depend on what kinds of food are coming into the body. Some carbohydrates calm behavior, others excite it.
Fast acting sugars like dextrose, glucose and sucrose are found in junk foods like candy, soda, packaged cookies and cakes, artificial fruit drinks, sports drinks and certain cereals. These fast acting sugars cause a sudden spike in blood sugar (or glucose) levels, then a sudden drop. When blood glucose levels drop, your child’s adrenal hormones kick in, releasing sugars that are stored in the liver. This sudden sugar high, then drop, then high again creates havoc in your child’s body, effecting concentration and behavior. This imbalance can cause your child to feel angry, sleepy, fidgety and unable to pay attention. Foods with fast acting sugars can stimulate fat storage, increase hyperactivity, reduce sport performance, and has been shown to cause overeating. Instead of reaching for that candy bar for an energy boost, try one of these foods that are low in fast acting sugars:
Foods Low in Fast Acting Sugars
|Grapes, oranges, tangerines, cherries, apples, prunes, dried apricots, plums, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, mango and grapefruit|
|Whole grain pasta, brown rice, barley, oatmeal and unsweetened bran flakes|
|Soybeans, lentils, lima beans, dried kidney beans, yellow split peas|
|Broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, red peppers, red potatoes, carrots, green peas, yams and sweet potatoes|
|Hummus, peanuts, walnuts, cashews|
|Yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, string cheese|
Salads are an excellent choice for your child’s school lunch. Because they don’t contain fast acting sugars, salads will help your child maintain maximum mental performance. The behavior of children will often get worse 3 to 4 hours after a meal because their ‘fuel’ level is low. One solution is to pack healthy snacks that your child can nibble on mid morning and late afternoon, when their blood sugar levels might be low.
SALAD SMARTS When you’re creating a salad, remember that the darker the leaves, the more nutritious the salad. Spinach leaves are a better choice than iceberg lettuce. Romaine lettuce contains about three times more folic acid as iceberg lettuce.
Make Eating Fun and Healthy
Kids like colors. Ask your child what colors they ate today.
When cooking, ask your child what
vitamins or nutrients are in the produce you're working with. "What is in thisorange pepper? Why is it good for you?
Teach your children that eating a variety
of colorful foods is the best way for them to grow strong.
Make a game out of going to the farmer's market or the produce section of your grocery store by having each child find a particular color of food. They may wind up introducing you to a new fruit or vegetable.