Cholesterol does not have to be a dirty word. It’s a natural requirement for healthy development and growth, produced by the body whenever necessary. Unfortunately, many children get too much cholesterol in their diets, leading to obesity and other health problems. Limit the cholesterol your kids eat with some creative tricks.
Put your kids in charge of their own diets. Well, maybe not entirely in charge, but if they have some responsibility, it will teach them to be aware of the food they are eating. Instead of mindlessly inhaling one pizza slice after another, kids can learn about the health benefits and disadvantages of the food they are eating. Teach your kids to bake with whole grain flour, which is full of the good HDL cholesterol. They will be less likely to turn their noses up at whole grain bread if they baked it themselves. Show them how to drizzle heart-healthy olive oils into a pan or how to shake it up with balsamic vinegar for their salads. Eventually, they will start reminding you to make good decisions.
Fresh From the Garden
Munching on fruits and vegetables–instead of french fries and doughnuts–is a great way to knock cholesterol out of the way. Kids aren’t always so excited with this change. Instead of just throwing out the treats and filling the cabinets with fruits and veggies, take the kids to a farmer’s market. Let them talk with the farmer about the nutrition and value of the foods they offer. A personal connection will make the food even more appealing. The fresh flavor will help, too. If you have the space, plant a simple garden. Even a tomato and bean plant in a container on the porch can help the children see how their food grows. As they watch it develop, anticipation to munch down will grow. A small herb garden can help older kids get excited about cooking in the kitchen.
If your child refuses to eat anything except deep-fried chicken nuggets and greasy cheeseburgers, it might be time to show him what the world has to offer his palate. Sushi might not be too appealing sitting coldly on your kitchen table, but in front of a hibachi grill at an authentic Japanese restaurant, it’s a dare from the other side of the world. As your child is drawn into a world of flying flames and tiny soy sauce dipping bowls, he will be inhaling salmon and seaweed wraps, full of omega-3 fats and the good cholesterol his body needs.
- hamburguesa image by ANTONIO ALCOBENDAS from Fotolia.com