1. Limit Junk Food.
- This includes most processed foods, convenience foods and fast foods – e.g.: sugary junk cereals, cookies, candy, chips, donuts, pastries, fast food burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc. Junk foods are bad because they:
- Provide little to no nutritional value
- Almost always contain excessive calories and ingredients known to directly contribute to poor health (trans fats, saturated fats, high fructose corn syrup, refined flour, excessive sodium)
- Crowd out other more nutritious, health promoting foods.
- Perpetuate appetite.
- Replace these “food artifacts” with “real” foods – as illustrated below.
2. Provide your child with as many and as much a variety of fruits and veggies as possible.
- A child requires 5 or more servings a day for optimal health (age 4-8, 3 cups; age 9-13, 4 cups)
- Plant foods are the “magic bullet” when it comes to health and disease prevention.
- They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, naturally low in calories, and packed with disease- busting phytochemicals.
- The superstar fruits – berries, cherries, plums, any whole citrus, mangoes, kiwis, apples, cantaloupe, pomegranates.
- The superstar veggies – all cruciferous (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards) tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, asparagus, spinach, dark salad greens and sweet potatoes.)
- A serving of fruit includes: ½ cup cut up fruit, 1 medium sized piece of fruit, 1 slice of melon, 2 smaller sized pieces of fruit, or ¾ cup 100% juice.
- A serving of vegetable includes: ½ cup of cut up vegetables in any form with the exception of leafy greens. 1 cup of leafy greens is 1 serving.
3. Provide your child with the right FATS! The type of fat in a diet is a major determinant of health!
- Strictly avoid trans fats: partially hydrogenated oils (in processed and fast foods), stick
margarine, and shortening.
- Minimize saturated fat: fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb, whole dairy products, butter.
- Provide the majority of their fats from the monounsaturated oils: extra virgin olive oil, canola
oil, nuts/seeds, and avocados.
- Strive to provide a serving of superstar omega 3 fats daily: oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel,
herring, and sardines), walnuts, canola oil, flaxseeds, omega 3 eggs, wheat germ, and small
leafy greens (arugula, watercress, etc.).
4. Minimize consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
- Like trans fats, another food technology development that promotes ill health.
- HFCS is the #1 sweetener in processed food – sodas, juices, cookies, candy, sugary cereals, cakes, pastries, etc.
- Frequent consumption of HFCS promotes weight gain, elevates triglycerides, causes gastrointestinal distress in susceptible individuals, and taxes an already overworked liver.
- You must read labels to avoid it.
5. Provide your child with the right CARBS!
- Minimize the highly refined, high glycemic index “bad,” white carbs – white flour products,
white rice, white potatoes, sugar, and products containing them.
- I refer to these foods as the “Great White Hazards” because they promote obesity, increase
cardiovascular risk, promote type 2 diabetes, promote certain cancers, and lead to rapid
fluctuations in blood glucose that aggravate the brain.
- Provide the majority of their carbohydrates from the following 4 categories: 100% whole
grains, beans/legumes, fruits, and vegetables (the “right carbs”).
- Consumption of carbohydrates as above has proved to:
- Lower the risk of heart disease
- Improve gastrointestinal health
- Lower the risk of cancer
- Protect against type 2 diabetes
- Help maintain a healthy body weight
6. Provide protein in the “healthiest packages” – skinless poultry, fish, shellfish, beans/legumes, nuts/seeds, omega 3 eggs, wild game, soy, low-fat dairy products, and lean red meats.
- Limit fatty cuts of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb). Avoid processed meats (bacon, sausage, bologna, etc.).
- Limit whole dairy products – whole milk (exception children under 2), full fat cheese, ice cream, etc.
- Strictly avoid the large carnivorous fish – shark, marlin, king mackerel, tile fish and swordfish.
7. Limit beverages to clean water, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, low fat/skim cow’s milk, and calcium fortified soy milk.
- Soft drinks, “sugar fortified” juices, and sports drinks have no nutritionally redeeming qualities and are a major source of weight promoting, liquid calories. They should be consumed sparingly. It is best to never bring them into your home.
- Be very leery of artificially sweetened foods/beverages – at a minimum, they exploit a child’s highly developed taste for sweet.
8. Limit TV
- Television viewing has emerged as the most powerful behavioral predictor of obesity.
- The more TV your child watches, the more fat, calories, sugar and sodium they tend to consume, and the less calcium, fruits and veggies they consume.
- Good Parenting 101 – Get the TV out of your child’s room!
9. Minimize exposure to potentially harmful chemicals – pesticides, antibiotics and hormones
- Thoroughly wash/rinse all fresh produce
- Consume organic varieties if your budget allows
- Place fresh produce in diluted soapy water (1 tsp/gallon) for 30 sec, swish, then rinse. Studies show this effectively removes 90% or more of the external chemicals.
- Always peel cucumber (can’t get herbicides out of the wax)
- Beware of the “dirty dozen”– apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach and strawberries.
- Buy organic milk
Copyright 2010, Just Wellness, LLC
About this tip sheet
This tip sheet was created by Ann Kulze M.D., a well-respected physician and nutrition expert. Dr. Kulze is also a member
of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Board of Directors. This tip sheet has been edited for adherence to recent findings by
the Foundation’s Programs staff.
All information on this tip sheet should be considered general health information published to aid the reader in their
personal quest for holistic wellness. Our goal is to support readers in maximizing their wellness and vitality.