Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Healthy Habits: Nutrition Tips for Kids from a Kid

A balanced diet is vital for health and it's crucial to develop good eating habits young. Obesity is the leading cause of death in the United States and it's no wonder why - the typical American diet is rich in fat, salt, and sugar and lacking in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Good nutrition is especially important for kids because their bodies grow so quickly...but the sad truth is that childhood obesity rates have been rising for decades.

The good news: Learning about nutrition and healthy eating can be fun and 12-year-old Kai Nunziato-Cruz will show you how!

As the son of a Gastroenterologist and a Holistic Nutrition Consultant, Kai Nunziato-Cruz has learned about diet and nutrition his whole life. He's watched his parents help adults get well and stay well through healthy eating and he felt it was his mission to take these same teachings to kids.

Kids are notoriously picky eaters so teaching them to actually crave and enjoy healthy foods is no easy task. Kai is encouraging kids to make nutritious food choices and to be adventurous with their healthy eating.

Good nutrition is important for kids and luckily many parents know this.

What they don't know however, is simply providing kids with healthy food is not enough. It's just as important for kids to learn about healthy food as it is to eat it. Children are at a time in their life when they are constantly growing and learning new knowledge so that's why habits are more likely to stay with you if you learn them as a kid.

 "I want to teach other kids about nutrition because we are the next generation and we need to be healthy..."

...says Kai who is on a crusade to make his generation live longer healthier lives through nutritious eating. Though he may be young, Kai's message has already spread to many families across the U.S. 
I had a chance to interview him to learn more.

How Families Can Make Healthy Eating Fun!

Why is it so helpful for kids to learn from other kids?  
In an age with so much information around us, kids are learning so much at such a young age.  Kids are smarter than ever and they especially love learning from other kids.  Parents have always been old school…kids want fresh new ideas presented in a fresh way that they can understand and relate to.  I think when a kid teaches another kid something it sticks!

What are some advantages of healthy eating for kids? 
Healthy eating goes a long way for kids.  It gives them and their body the foundation they need for healthy adulthood.  We tend to follow the habits we have as children into adulthood.  There is no better gift than to give the gift of good health to our children.

How do you tell your peers to be willing to try new things?  
Try to make trying new things fun, I’ll try it if you try it.  Daring someone to try it always works as well.  You never know you might like it.  With kids it’s all about making it fun.  Even if you don’t like it you can always spit it out!  

What do you think parents need to do to encourage healthy eating habits for the whole family?  
The best way for parents to encourage healthy eating is to explain to their kids why they are eating the healthier food and what they can expect if they continue to eat unhealthy.  It also helps to stop buying bad foods and having them in the house (whatever you buy will get eaten).  Only buy healthy food options and those are the only things that will be eaten.  If parents expect their kids to eat healthy they need to eat healthy too.  You can’t expect the child to eat a salad while the parent eats a burger and French fries.  

Kai Nunziato-Cruz is a 12-year-old nutrition expert from Arizona. As the son of Liz Cruz M.D., a board-certified Gastroenterologist, and Tina Nunziato, a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, Kai has watched his Moms for years help adults get well and stay well with their books, podcast, online home study program and more and felt it was his mission to take those same teachings to kids. Kai is the author of Digest This Now!,  a kid-friendly, doctor-approved book about healthy eating and he also teaches through his podcast show “Generation Kai."

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