Mallika Chopra: What We Can Do To Stop Childhood Obesity – An Exclusive Series from Intent.com

I struggle almost every day to get my younger daughter to eat fruits and vegetables.  Since she was a baby, she has just refused to open her mouth to certain foods, and I have tempted all sorts of games, rewards, punishment, tricks, bribes, you name it.

So I was very excited to speak with Rick Delashmit, one of the first winners of the year-long Pepsi Rerfresh Project as he has a plan to get kids to try vegetables.

Rick will be using his $25K grant to push forward his Taste Buds program, where he drives around in a truck full of fruits and vegetables to different elementary schools and quizzes kids about nutrition facts, where food comes from and the nutritional benefits of different foods. In order to win the game, kids must at least one small bite of three different vegetables and two fruits.

And, if they all try it, they get Vege bucks which they can use at the local farmers market to redeem fruits and vegetables. Its a bit of healthy peer pressure to get them to try something new.  I found this tactic actually worked in with Leela!  I showed her the bucks that Rick gives out and told her that if she tries some new vegetables, I would ask him for some.  And, she actually tried some corn! :)

Click on the podcast below to listen to my conversation with Rick. Rick talks about the original inspiration behind the idea, what he plans on doing with the $25K grant and how crucial it is to get kids to know their fruits and vegetables at an early age.

Childhood obesity is a problem that affects all of us. I invite all of you to read through our exclusive Intent series “How To Prevent Childhood Obesity,” where 11 different Intent Voice contributors share their insights on what we can all do to prevent childhood obesity in this country.

Don’t forget to watch our exclusive video starring our very own Intent voice, nutritionist and mom Renay Matthews, who shares with us three different kid-friendly recipes we can making in our own homes to get our kids to eat healthier.

 

Here are my 9 tips for preventing childhood obesity in your household and in your community as a whole. If all of us do our best to raise healthy children, then we are all truly making a difference in raising a healthier generation of kids.

1. Educate yourself on the facts. Knowledge truly is the first step in galvanizing our communities to solve this problem. Did you know the childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last three decades in this country? More obese children means more obese adults, which means more costs for the healthcare system to treat preventable diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, not to mention a much shortened life expectancy. Read Brett Blumenthal’s article to get the facts on childhood obesity.

2. Make sure your kids are getting enough sleep. Did you know that quality sleep plays a huge role in helath and weight maintenane for kids? Though we should all focus on what our kids are eating and how much exercise our kids are doing, sleep is also a huge factor in healthy weight control. Read Sleep Expert Nancy Rothstein’s article on how sleep is the missing link in preventing childhood obesity.

3. Make brown bagging cool. Explore with your kids fun, easy and delicious lunch recipes that she can eat at school. Read nutritionist Renay Matthew’s article for healthy and easy lunch ideas for kids.

4. Shower your kids with love, not judgment. Teaching your kids how to eat healthy and love their bodies should be a fun learning process that raises their self-esteem, not punish them or make them feel bad for not achieving a certain expectation. Read weight loss expert Janice Taylor’s tips for raising your kids’ self-esteem and health knowledge to prevent childhood obesity in the household.

5. Too busy to cook? Learn how to use a crock pot. Just add chopped vegetables and other ingredients in the crock pot in the morning and you will have a fully cooked healthy meal by the time you come home to eat with your health-conscious children. Read life coach Dr. Deb Brown’s tips for cooking meals with a crock pot for your kids.

6. Don’t forget to emotionally nourish your kids, too. In addition to having a healthy weight, your kids should also have high self-esteem and always feel loved. High self-esteem and confidence will help your kids appreciate their own bodies and not resort to emotional eating for the rest of their lives. Read stress expert Debbie Mandel’s article on emotionally feeding your kids.

7. Give your kids an active role in the food that is eaten at home. When you give your kids an active role in brainstorming recipe ideas, picking out foods at the supermarket and cooking meals, your kids will learn to be more conscious about the food that goes into their bodies. Read Donna Gates’ article for tips to include your kids in the food process in your home for healthier eating habits.

8. Learn the art of camoflauge. One of the oldest tricks in the book. For the notoriously picky eaters, it’s okay to sneak some vegetables into your kids’ favorite recipes. Read Lauren Simon’s article for a delicious tomato sauce recipe that sneaks in a lot of vegetables.

9. Support organizations and grassroot efforts to prevent childhood obesity. In addition to making efforts in your own household, see what other people in other communities are doing to help prevent childhood obesity and follow their lead. Maybe there are fun volunteer opportunities for your family in your hometown. Read this inspiring article about one man’s mission to reduce childhood obesity in his South Carolina neighborhood.

Read the rest of Intent.com Childhood Obesity Series here

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About Mallika Chopra

Mallika is Tara and Leela's mom. She's written two books inspired by them - 100 Promises to My Baby and 100 Questions from Her Child. She started Intent to realize her personal intention to connect with others by sharing and listening to each others stories.

Comments

  1. Mallika, food does not have intelligence to taste good or bad- this idea of good and bad taste in food is erroneous- All is Mind, and you may want to try this idea- Know and realize that your daughter is God's idea, whole and complete, in this realization I feel assured that your daughter will be lead to eating the "wholesome" right foods-

  2. Dear Mallika,

    Being involved with the Pepsi Rerfresh Project is an awesome idea.

    I can envision a totally healthy soft drink with health tips for kids on the label.

    Perhaps the name of the soft drink could be Dr. Chopra

  3. Mallika-

    I was quite intrigued by this Taste Bud program and particularly the line – how crucial it is to get kids to know their fruits and vegetables at an early age. I have always felt that way and did something about it. I wrote and illustrated the book Poems on Fruits & Odes to Veggies – Where Healthy Eating Starts With a Poem. Check it out at http://www.judithnatellimclaughlin.com. My goal is to EDUCATION adn ENTERTAIN. If a child knows about a certain healthy food, he or she will be more inclined to try it.

    Enjoy!

  4. I was so excited when I was typing, that my fingers moved too fast…

    I mean my goal is to EDUCATE and ENTERTAIN!

    oops.

  5. I love that in lots of countries now that kids are planting and cooking with what they grow in schools promotes variety from a young age and makes kids more open to eating things they normally wouldnt

  6. This is a super-important topic, especially when we remember how serious the health care issue is in the United States. Our health care reform is mostly dealing with people after they get sick, if we can incubate better eating habits in the young, we'll all benefit.

  7. There are so many people in the world today suffering from the effects of obesity. It is truly inspiring to see people who are able to fight against this epedemic.

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