What if I told you that your child will have a shorter life expectancy than you? Unfortunately, this is a sad reality affecting many families today.
According to the CDC, 1 out of 3 children in the United States is either overweight or obese by their fifth birthday. The consequences of childhood obesity range from heart disease to type 2 diabetes at an early age. But who is to blame?
In reality, there are many causes, all of which refer back to the lack of time and money. It is very easy to go through a drive-thru at a fastfood restaurant and pick up a juicy hamburger and crispy French fries at a very low cost. But in the end, is it really low-cost?
Obesity and related diseases cost the government billions of dollars a year. To break the cycle, lack of time and money should be addressed through menu planning and budgeting, which can be an easy, quick and affordable task.
The five essential components of an effective menu plan include budget, meals, snacks, physical activity and an ingredient list. The budget serves as the base of the menu plan; however, it is possible to be economical if the budget is limited. Buying canned or frozen fruits and vegetables which have a longer shelf life, or buying foods in-season are just two examples on how the budget can be spent on healthy foods.
The second component to the menu plan is actually planning the menu. Always eat three meals-breakfast, lunch and dinner-without skipping. Each meal should contain carbohydrates, proteins and fats, along with a variety of colors, to ensure an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. The third component is to plan the snacks. Snacks are important because they keep blood sugar levels stable; however, we can often overindulge. Planning the snacks and portioning them keeps off the extra Calories and pounds. The fourth component to the menu plan is physical activity.
Children need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day, while adults only need 30. However, it doesn’t have to be done all at once and can be broken down into 10-minute segments. It is essential to good health because it not only helps to maintain weight loss, but it also prevents many diseases such as type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.