COLORADO SPRINGS — Kristin Newsome, a pediatric clinical nutritionist with Children's Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs, who recently talked about the rise across the country and here in southern Colorado in childhood obesity through the pandemic. (STORY HERE) To turn things around, she talked about the importance of making small meaningful changes, and she shared a few examples of exactly what those might look like.
Kristin says, “The importance of starting small - I can't stress that enough - that is really an important message because it is overwhelming when you think about trying to make significant changes, and so it's easier to give up when you think it's big. We have to break it down into very small but meaningful changes.”
SMALL MEANINGFUL CHANGE 1 - FRUIT OF ALL KINDS
Kristin says, “I think one of the things is we have always heard that fresh vegetables and fresh foods are ideal, and yes they are. The reality is it's not always practical to have those on hand, most of us are not constantly going to the store, so what can we do as alternatives? For example, it is okay to have other types of fruit as options for your kids, like canned fruit. Just don't buy the ones that are loaded in heavy syrup. Also, dehydrated fruit or freeze-dried fruit which has a tremendous shelf life are great options to always have on hand for when you don't have fresh fruit.”
SMALL MEANINGFUL CHANGE 2 - OTHER VEGETABLE OPTIONS
Kristin explains, “Same thing with vegetables we don't always have access to the fresh vegetables daily, so having frozen is an option. Our advice there is just don't buy the ones that are saturated in cheese sauce and butters and creams. You want (veggies) in its purest form and canned vegetables are even okay, we just recommend that you don't cook the canned vegetable in a liquid that they come in. You rinse it first, and doing those two steps will reduce the sodium in the vegetables by 30%. They also make a dehydrated and dried versions of vegetables which really are very similar to like chips. So for those who are craving something crunchy or a little bit of salt then you get that and those are more nutritional (than potato chips) when it's in a crispy vegetable.”
SMALL MEANINGFUL CHANGE 3 - PARENTS LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Kristin says, “With the family, we don't want to isolate the kids and say, ‘This is just a message for them.’ Mom and dad can be a barrier to healthier kids right there. When mom and dad have their own diet, a bad diet, or even a fad diet, and the kids are trying to do something else based on their health and goals and conversations with their doctors. It doesn't work as well when there are multiple things going on in the home. Dietary therapy and good nutrition across-the-board is a good recommendation for parents all the way down to the youngest kids in the family, it's expands the lifespan and really helps set up everybody for success.”