Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Have you and your children had your fruits and veggies? PLUS fun and easy ways to get your kids to eat their's!! Childhood obesity is equivalent to poisoning your child, don't kill your kids!!!

If you know me, you know I'm extremely passionate about stopping obesity, and even more so about childhood obesity. Obesity is the single most preventable problem there is, and one primary reason for it is the lack of fruits and vegetables in the average diet. And for all you fast-food-goers, FRENCH FRIES ARE NOT A VEGETABLE! Can I make that any more clear? Greasy, fried, oily, sodium-saturated, crust-covered potatoes are NOT a vegetable. By the time they are frozen and deep fried, the very few, un-starchy, nutrients that were once in the poor little potatoes are gone. NOW, let's talk about the good stuff. Getting a colorful variety of fruits and veggies is very important. The more colorful array you choose, the more nutrients and vitamins you're getting. It is proven that people who on average eat more fruits and vegetables daily (incorporated into daily calories), weigh less and, are less-fatigued, and function better overall than those who don't. Let's start with getting your "5 a day the color way!" and the daily recommended servings of both fruits and vegetables for both children and adults.

Age                                 Fruits (serving)        Vegetables
Less Active:
2-3 yrs                              1                                  1
4-8                                    1                                1.5
9-13                                 1.5                                2
14-18                               1.5                              2.5
Moderately Active:
2-3 yrs                              1                                 1
4-8                                  1.5                              1.5
9-13                                1.5                                2
14-18                                2                               2.5
2-3 yrs                              1                                 1
4-8                                  1.5                              1.5
9-13                                1.5                              2.5
14-18                                2                                3

Age                                 Fruits                     Vegetables
Less Active:
2-3 yrs                                1                                1
4-8                                    1.5                             1.5
9-13                                  1.5                             2.5
14-18                                  2                                3
Moderately Active:
2-3 yrs                                1                                1
4-8                                    1.5                             1.5
9-13                                  1.5                             2.5
14-18                                  2                                3
2-3 yrs                                1                                1
4-8                                    1.5                               2
9-13                                    2                               2.5
14-18                                2.5                              3.5

Age                                 Fruits                     Vegetables
Less Active:
19-30                                 2                                2.5
31-51                               1.5                               2.5
51+                                  1.5                                2
Moderately Active:
19-50                                 2                                 2.5
51+                                  1.5                                2.5
19-50                                 2                                   3
51+                                    2                                 2.5

Age                                 Fruits                     Vegetables
Less Active:
19-50                                  2                                  3
51+                                     2                                2.5
Moderately Active:
19-30                                  2                                3.5
31+                                     2                                 3
19-30                                2.5                                4
31-50                                2.5                              3.5
51+                                     2                                 3

What is classified as "One" serving? These vary from fruit to fruit and veggie to veggie, but this should give you a general idea. A serving is about a cup and here are some ideas for 1 cup and 1/2 cup servings so you know how much you're getting.
A small apple- 1 cup
1 large ear of corn- 1 cup
1 large orange- 1 cup
16 grapes- 1/2 cup
A small banana- 1/2 cup
6 baby carrots- 1/2 cup
or most chopped or easily measured fruits/vegetables in a measuring cup or half cup is accurate.

What is the importance of fruits and vegetables?
Both include many essential vitamins and nutrients that the body needs. Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables and improve overall health. A diet lacking color variety of these foods is usually vitamin deficient, and replacing some of those bad calories with the right ones will help you lose weight and maintain more balance in many physiological aspects.
There are a ton of fun and tasty recipes out there than incorporate fruits and veggies and are easy and cost-effective. Broccoli with a little cheese on top is one of my favorites, spinach (raw in salads), purple grapes, 100% orange juice, and gala apples are some of the ways I daily incorporate these yummy and healthiful foods into my life!
When I was growing up, you couldn't get me to eat a vegetable if you paid me, now you couldn't pay me NOT to eat them. One thing I hear from a lot of parents is that it is difficult to get their children to eat there fruits and vegetables, but if you knew the risks and deficiencies associated with NOT eating them and the growing epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes, you might think twice. I am one that personally believes obese children's parents should be forced to take parenting classes in nutrition and interaction. I think that allowing your children to gain weight and become obese should be considered child endangerment. It is no different than slowly slipping them cyanide every day and poisoning them, literally. This is my opinion, and you are free to have your own, but I feel that if I express it this way, parents might understand why it is so crucial to teach your children healthy living and physical activity. If your child is already overweight, it is NOT too late. This is one common misconception about overweight children [and adults], but it is never too late, and you can reverse the damage you've done. It at times is a long and rough road, but it will be worth it when you and/or your kids are healthy.

Snacks to help sneak in those good things:
Carrots and Ranch: Easy on the ranch, maybe even buy light ranch if you're child does have a weight problem, but this is a fun and tasty way to trick your kids into getting those veggies.
100% Fruit Juice: Not a substitute for 100% of the time, but for one of those fruit servings, it's a great way to sneak it in. (Unless diabetes is a factor, then please advise a doctor, because juices contain high amounts of sugar)
Celery and Peanut Butter: Easy on the peanut butter (Try to limit the serving to about 2 TBSP which is 190cal [180 reduced fat]), but another yummy way to mask some of the veggie-ness of celery. It also has protein from the peanut butter, it's a win-win.
Apples and Caramel: Again, don't let them eat the whole jar of caramel, but I think you're getting the idea.
Broccoli with some cheddar or jack cheese sprinkled on top: It takes away some of the broccoli part of it, and you also get the calcium and good stuff from the cheese!

There are tons more, but those are my most simple and easy ways to help incorporate fruits and vegetables into your child's (and maybe even your) diet! :) If you google ways to help kids eat healthier, there are tons of recipes and options, whether you have an hour or fifteen minutes, there are options out there for healthy dinners for you and your family.

Remember, the greater variety in color, the better. The more the vitamins and minerals will vary, colors are generally associated with different vitamins and benefits.

Red Fruits and Vegetables
Contain nutrients such as lycopene, ellagic acid, Quercetin, and Hesperidin, to name a few. These nutrients reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce tumor growth and LDL cholesterol levels, scavenge harmful free-radicals, and support join tissue in arthritis cases.

Orange and Yellow fruits and vegetables
Contain beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C. These nutrients reduce age-related macula degeneration and the risk of prostate cancer, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, fight harmful free radicals, encourage alkaline balance, and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones.

Green vegetables and Fruit
Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The nutrients found in these vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion time, support retinal health and vision, fight harmful free-radicals, and boost immune system activity.

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables
Contain nutrients which include lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. Similar to the previous nutrients, these nutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, act as an anticarcinogens in the digestive tract, and limit the activity of cancer cells.

White fruits and vegetables
Contain nutrients such as beta-glucans, EGCG, SDG, and lignans that provide powerful immune boosting activity. These nutrients also activate natural killer B and T cells, reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers, and balance hormone levels, reducing the risk of hormone-related cancers

Enjoy food, do not fear it. It is your friend and your health and well-being rely on it. It's about incorporating the good with the occasional "bad" and letting yourself enjoy a little bit of everything.

Don't forget to tell your friends about "Living Healthy with Jillian!" My goal is to hopefully have 100 followers by January 1st, and I know with your help, it can happen. Thanks! <3


  1. i love this and don't understand why you don't have a million followers!! what is going on here! :/

    P.S. the OCD side of me is annoyed that all of the colors except yellow is linked with its color in the text. if that makes sense lol