Is Your Child Overweight?

Fast Food

Parenting a child can be a difficult task, especially if that child already has underlying health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of children and young adults in the United States were overweight or obese in 2012. Mothers across the country are facing an obesity epidemic, both for themselves and their children. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that mothers pay close attention to their child's dietary habits. Activities such as talking to doctors, providing the child with healthy food and physical activity will aid you in any attempts to prevent obesity in your son or daughter.

Talk to a Medical Professional

If your child is already healthy, he or she should still have yearly checkups with a general practitioner. However, if he or she is showing signs of being overweight, you could consult with a medical professional who has been trained in the science of nutrition. An overweight child needs a meal plan and a stable daily schedule to achieve healthy goals. A concerned parent should make an appointment with a specialist and get an expert opinion.

Replace Fast Food With Healthy Food

Many American children eat fast food and unhealthy microwavable food due to the cheap price and easy attainability. However, this food can create havoc and supply empty calories in the body of a child who eats it excessively. Replace quick meals of chicken nuggets and pizza with salad and sandwiches loaded with vegetables. Also, use leaner cuts of meat such as chicken and turkey when including animal products in a child's meal. This will prevent the consumption of empty calories, and will likely give the child more energy to make it through the day as well as nutrients for proper growth.

Make Healthy Food More Fun

Giving a child motivation to eat healthy food is essential to do when your little one is overweight and a picky eater. Snacks such as carrots and nuts may not seem exciting to a child at first, but arranging them in a fun pattern or offering special treats after the completion of nutritious snacks will certainly aid the process. When you make your child's lunch, include two small snacks, a sandwich or hearty salad and a dessert. Do this instead of providing money for a lunch purchase. Children will usually appreciate the fullness of the meal as well as the fact that you took the time to prepare it.


Healthy Hash

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If you are a mom, dad or care giver to children, you know how challenging it can be to prepare deliciously healthy, make ahead meals everyone loves. While make ahead meals do not necessarily have to be designed using a "one size fits all" strategy, healthy dishes which can be easily prepared and frozen can come in handy for many meal-planning occasions. Never underestimate the power of freshly frozen, healthy recipes you can make ahead and thaw out in a hurry. Make a big batch to have a little now and more later!

Two of the easiest recipe categories to rely on for breakfast, lunch and dinner are hash and hash browns recipes. They may sound the same, but each has its own unique, full-bodied characteristics which involve recipe creating fun and scrumptious end results. The magic, of course, is in the ingredients!

Ideas for the tastiest hash browns begin with nicely browned, grated potatoes. Always a favorite! Adding a little butter, garlic and onion offers promising delight for discerning taste buds. Mix it up a little by using red potatoes, sweet potatoes or a combination to incorporate varying textures and flavors. Crispy, savory hash browns make perfect side dishes or single-serving meals. Easy to make, easy to freeze - hash browns can conveniently become an easy go-to part of any meal planning effort.

Cooking up chock full of flavor dishes is easy to do when exploring delicious hash recipes. With a few extra fresh vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini and green peppers in the works, simple hash suddenly becomes a main course. Toss in some seasoned ground pork, aged cheddar cheese and organic eggs, and watch another fabulously fulfilling dish magically come to life for your hungry army! Draining ground pork (or any ground meat) will remove high caloric fat while still providing healthful flavor. Or Try adding cubed ham with your cheddar cheese for a yummy hash.

Don't forget the delicious hash browns you prepared earlier. When hash ingredients are combined with the roasty-toasty flavor of hash browns and fresh vegetables the world of tasty delights just keeps getting better. Like it spicy? Add a little cumin or pepper flakes for that perfect bite.

The bottom line to incorporating healthy smorgasbords on the go is about preparing, freezing and serving flavorful foods on the fly. Turn up the hash-style meal planning volume. When meals are this mouthwatering and easy everything else seems to fall into place!


Easy Chicken Soup

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For moms who are dedicated to making a healthy meal for their families every night, and can be difficult to find new recipes that are both easy to make and that are in your budget. Making soup or stew is an easy dinner that is both healthy and uses ingredients that are affordable. Chicken soup is a recipe that is quite versatile and can be easily changed to make it very hearty without much effort. The following is a description of how classic chicken soup can be changed into a hearty chicken noodle stew.

The first thing you will need to do is dice up three cups of celery, two cups of carrots, one cup on onions, and 2 cloves of garlic. Melt four tablespoons of butter in the bottom of a large soup pan and add the celery, carrots, onions, and garlic to it. Let this simmer for a few minutes, and then slowly add a half cup of flour to the mixture. Once this is mixed in, pour two 32 ounce boxes of low-sodium chicken stock into the pan and bring to a gentle boil. While this is boiling, cut up one cup of zucchini, one cup of green beans, and open one eight ounce can of corn (or equivalent frozen). Add these three things to the pan as well. Season everything generously with salt, pepper and parsley to taste. Allow this to simmer for about ten minutes.

While the veggies are cooking, you can begin working with the chicken. Cup up one pound of chicken (preferably beast meat) into small pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat four tablespoons of olive oil or butter a frying pan, then toss the chicken into the pan. Cook the chicken until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from the heat and set to the side until the next step is completed.

Once the chicken is done, scoop out one third of the veggies from the soup pan and place them in a blender. Purée them until they are smooth and then pour them back into the soup pan. This will make your stew extra thick and creamy. Mix the chicken into the stew along with twelve ounces of dried pasta. If you would like, use alphabet pasta to make it fun for the kids. Allow this to boil until the pasta is fully cooked. For best results, serve the stew hot with a loaf of crusty bread.


Times Savers to Reach a Healthy Breakfast Goal

Yogurt with berries and granola

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but some days, you just don't have the time you need to sit down and eat something healthy. When you're pressed for time, you might feel tempted to reach for a box of cereal and call it a day, or you might even swing through the drive through. Once you check out a few time saver ideas, you'll find that you always have time to make something fast that tastes good and is good for you.

One of the easiest ideas for the first meal of the day is a simple burrito. Scramble a few eggs, or egg whites if you want to cut cholesterol, add a few chopped fresh veggies, any seasonings that you want and top it off with a slice of low-fat cheese. It only takes a few minutes to scramble the eggs, and a real time saver involves chopping up your veggies the night before.

If you're really pressed for time, grab a carton of Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has more protein than normal yogurt, and it has a thicker consistency, too. A small carton is good for a snack, but when it comes to breakfast, you want to add some more heft to it. Toss a handful of almonds or granola on top and drizzle honey over the yogurt for a sweet and yummy morning treat. You can also add a few of your favorite fresh or frozen berries instead of the almonds.

Fresh fruit tastes great and is healthy, but you don't always have time to sit down and chop fruit in the morning. Save time by sitting down the night before and cutting up your fruit. You can use apples, berries, peaches, pears, pineapple...or whatever is fresh and in season. The best thing about fruit salad is that it keeps for several days. You might even whip up a larger batch and portion it out for snacks throughout the week.

For those picky eaters in your family, try a peanut butter and jelly roll-up. All you need to do is spread a layer of peanut butter and a layer of low-sugar jelly or jam onto a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up, slice it into rounds and serve. Make this dish a real time saver by making it the night before and storing it in the refrigerator. With these fun and healthy breakfast ideas, everyone in your family can start their day off on the right foot.


Tricky Halloween Treats

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Thousands of children look forward to Halloween each year for the sole reason of getting huge bags filled with candy. For parents who are trying to teach their children good eating habits, this can be an extremely challenging time of year. After all, no parent wants to deny their child the fun of Halloween, but no kid needs to eat five pounds of junk food in one week, either. Fortunately, there are dozens of treats that go great with the holiday and are good for the body, as long as parents know the proper way to prepare them.

Pizza With Spinach Sauce

Pizza is one of the favorite treats for children everywhere, but most parents aren't too happy about feeding their child such an unhealthy dinner. Fortunately, there are several tricks to making the meal healthier. To start, parents should always make the pizza from scratch so they know exactly what's going into it. To save time, these pizzas can be made in advance and frozen to be baked later.

The next step to making pizza healthier is to use the right ingredients. Instead of using regular crust, parents should opt for whole wheat whenever possible. For the sauce, sneak some vegetables in by blending a half cup spinach with a few spoonfuls of water. This creates a baby food like texture, so parents won't have to worry about their child seeing any "gross" leaves or "green things" in their food. Next, add the spinach to two cups of tomato sauce. Stir until the spinach disappears, spread it on the pizza, then top with skim mozzarella. Children are sure to love this recipe, and even better, they're getting multiple servings of vegetables with every slice they eat. If your kids will eat them, try adding some fresh diced tomatoes or pieces of broccoli, or other veggies you kids will eat.

Candied Apples

Apple treats are a favorite fall snack, and while most parents won't like the idea of covering a fruit with sugar, it is possible to make this treat a little less unhealthy. To start, parents should switch milk chocolate with dark chocolate and avoid caramel completely. After the apple has been dipped, children can roll it in healthier alternatives to candy, such as peanuts, coconut shavings, or pumpkin seeds.

Monster Ice Cream

Ice cream may not seem like the best thing to eat, but when it's actually made from bananas and spinach, it definitely is. To make this, parents will need two frozen ripe bananas, a few drops of peppermint extract, 1/16th teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons milk, 1/4 cup spinach and optional chocolate chips. To prepare, all parents have to do is add the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. The spinach is impossible to taste due to the mint flavor, but it still gives the ice cream a fun ghoulish color.