Ironically, even though I don’t hold most doctors in high regards as a source for nutritional advice – I will make the following disclaimer to protect myself: Do not blindly accept the comments I post here as necessarily being the best course of action for your personal health & wellbeing. I do not know your personal medical condition, the medications you may be taking, or situation – and you should most certainly consult with your personal physician before making any radical, or even significant, changes to your diet or exercise regimen. I am not a medical doctor and am not offering any medical advice.
Now that we got that out of the way …
While I was in law school I also earned my Masters in nutrition. My rationale for pursuing an advanced degree in human nutrition was that law school, by itself, was simply not challenging enough….
No! Of course, I’m just kidding! It was really that I have always been very future oriented, and I figured that I would literally be spending the rest of my life eating – so I should really learn something about what I am eating, what I should be putting in my body and how it would affect my overall health & wellbeing!
Consider these disturbing statistics from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention):
- From 1999 –2000 through 2017 –2018, US obesity prevalence increased from 30.5% to 42.4%. During the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.
- Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. These are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
- The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008. Medical costs for people who had obesity was $1,429 higher than medical costs for people with healthy weight.
Come on people- we can do better!!
Whether you are looking for a diet plan for weight loss or just looking to learn how to maximize your mental & physical performance – there is something here for you…
Although I don’t yet have 111 of them – and I plan on adding to this list over time, I felt there was enough here to post at this time.
These are the lessons & points about diet & nutrition that I really want my children to understand & embrace – for their own wellbeing & health! I hope these points & nutrition advice can benefit you too!
111 Things I Want My Kids to Know About Food & Nutrition
Nutritional Tips for Kids & Families
Healthy Eating Tips, Food Advice & The Best Way to Eat Healthy!
- What you consume on a daily basis is extremely important with regards to your health & wellbeing. The old adage is really true – We are what we eat!
- Vitamin pills are not a substitute for proper nutrition. They simply can’t supply all of the micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) that a healthy, balanced & unprocessed diet will. At BEST – think of vitamin pills & nutritional supplements as a cheap insurance policy against any gross nutritional deficiencies in your diet – not a primary means of achieving proper nutrition.
- While there is definitely a genetic component involved in determining your health & longevity – more than 70% of your state of health is dependent on the personal decisions you make with regards to your diet & exercise! So don’t fall into the trap of thinking that most of your health is determined by the genetic lottery. It is not, and is often used as a excuse to justify not accepting personal responsibility for your own health & wellbeing. What you do and what you eat are the biggest determinants of your overall health & wellbeing. It definitely plays a far larger role than the genetic lottery!
- Good eating habits can help not only your physical health & wellbeing – but your mental health & wellbeing as well.
- Avoid all medications – if at all possible – and only use them as a last resort. (Of course – consult with your physician) Proper exercise & diet can eliminate the need for most medications.
- Remember that most doctors are very poorly versed & trained in proper nutrition. Don’t believe me? Next time you are at your doctor’s office ask him/her how may hours they spent in medical school studying human nutrition… And then compare that to the amount of training they received with respect to drugs and medications.
- Heavily processed foods have only been around for a relative short period of time.(~70 years) It is NOT how most people have eaten throughout human history. It has been a HUGE experiment on a very large population – and the results are in: Heavily processed foods are detrimental to your health & wellbeing.
- Processed = devoid of most, if not all, nutritional value.
- Enriched just means that some manufacturer tried to add back in some nutrients. Don’t be fooled – it is still processed.
- There is no substitute for fresh, unprocessed foods.
- Plant based diets are the best thing you can do for your body. Science & history clearly bear that out.
- You can still indulge with the occasional dessert and other luxuries from time-to time – just don’t make them a habit – and make sure it is infrequent & in moderation.
- If there are a lot of ingredients in something that you don’t recognize and can’t pronounce – you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
- Don’t eat for just enjoyment. The primary purpose of eating is for obtaining the nutrients your body requires to function properly. The fact that you might enjoy what you eat sometimes is just an added benefit!
- Eat both fruits & vegetables – not just one or the other!
- In most cases skipping a meal is better than eating junk food. Your body was designed to go periods without eating sometimes and can adapt to missing the occasional meal.
- Familiarize yourself well with the following pyramid (Plant based pyramid)
- Your moods & energy levels most definitely are influenced by what you eat! Not happy with how you are feeling? Then improve you diet & lifestyle!
- Don’t get sucked into the latest diet fad (Paleo, Grapefruit, Keto, Atkins….Hollywood..) Fad diets can be extreme and be very dangerous to your health! We were made to eat an unrefined diet of mostly plants. It really isn’t that complicated!
- Watch something educational and inspirational about proper nutrition. I would recommend something like Fat Sick & Nearly Dead (1&2 See HERE.) or The Game Changers – See HERE.
- How, when & what we eat is heavily influenced by social habits & behaviors. We share meals with friends, close business deals over lunches & dinners and celebrate major life milestones with grand events that revolve around food & drink. If you are going to try to improve you diet – you need to recognize this fact and realize that you may need to also change some of your social behaviors & habits. This is something that you can either make work for you or against you!
- Make sure you are not using eating to “fix” other problems in your life.
- Build a healthy social/support network to help reinforce healthy eating habits & lifestyle choices.
- The eating decisions you make TODAY WILL impact your future health.
- Diets don’t work – They yield temporary changes, at best. Lifestyle changes are the only way to create permanent changes in your health & wellbeing.
- You wouldn’t put soda in an exotic sports car as fuel. You shouldn’t put it in the incredibly elegant, sophisticated & complex machine that is your body either.
- Fast food is fast, but isn’t really food.
- Learning about proper nutrition is a worthwhile endeavor – since you will literally be eating for your entire life!
- Empty calories means calories with very little to no nutritional value.
- Eating healthy can be delicious & satisfying.
- If you don’t think good nutrition tastes good you’re simply not doing it right! Learn about herbs & spices. If you are able to enjoy the flavors that are most enjoyable to you with healthier alternatives – you are more likely to succeed in making permeant changes towards a healthier diet & lifestyle.
- A healthy diet consists of a colorful diet with lots of greens, yellow, reds & oranges ( ah, yes – the colors coming from FRUITS & VEGETABLES – not potato chips and the like…)
- With proper nutrition your body has an amazing ability to heal itself both inside & out.
- Don’t be swayed by packaging that says “lite” or “reduced fat” – it’s still junk food.
- Learn how to read a nutrition label!
- Juice cocktail is not real juice. drink only 100% juice. Click HERE to see the type of juice that we buy for our family.
- Most condiments are crap! (ketchup, mustard…) Focus on herbs & spices – and skip the condiments!
- Serving sizes, everything in moderation, white bread for sandwiches, fruits and vegetables color of the rainbow.
- If you really can’t resist – have just a taste!
- Try to improve your eating habits every year. January 1st New Year’s resolution…
- Most of your time in the grocery store should be spent in the produce section of the store. Likewise, most of your dollars should be spent on produce.
- If you’re not content to feel like everyone else – then don’t expect to be able to eat like everyone else! Eat Better = Feel Better.
- Alcohol is dangerous and should only be used occasionally, if at all – e.g. once or twice a month at the most. Think of it as something that you indulge in only for celebrations.
- Obesity is an avoidable global pandemic – and the DIRECT result of poor food & lifestyle choices at an individual level. Don’t be a willing victim of this global pandemic!
- The quality of your diet determines, in large part, the quality of your life!
- The humble bean is your friend. Embrace the friendship!
- Eat more nuts & seeds. This is a second friendship worth developing. Nuts & seeds can be great snacks. They are nutrient dense & satisfying. I always keep some nuts/seeds at work. If I feel a little hungry, they are the first thing I reach for.
- If you are obese as a child – you are much more likely to struggle with obesity throughout your adulthood.
- Parents should set a good example of eating a healthy diet & embracing a healthy lifestyle for their children. We as parents are the biggest influence on type of lifestyle our children will ultimately embrace.
- Juicing can be an effective way help you increase the amount of nutrients you consume on a daily basis. HERE is a link to a little masticating juicer we really like. Very cheap and effective! (Affiliate link). If you don’t want to take the time and effort to juice – consider THIS type of juice!
- It is easier to keep those extra pounds off in the first place, rather than having to shed them later.
- Just because you are thin – doesn’t necessarily mean that you are healthy. This is a common misconception – even among athletes. It really only evidences the fact that you are doing a good job of balancing your caloric intake with your caloric needs. In-other-words – you are using all the calories you are ingesting. The questions remains whether or not you are getting the nutrients your body needs to function properly with the foods you are consuming.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure that you are drinking enough water daily – so that your urine is a very light yellow/nearly clear. If it is dark yellow or brownish – you are not drinking enough water!
- Eat probiotic foods that help maintain healthy gut bacteria. This not only aids in digestion – but helps keep bad bacteria in check. Examples of some probiotic foods are:
- apple cider vinegar
- salted gherkin pickles
- sourdough bread
- coconut kefir
- raw cheese
- cottage cheese, swiss, provolone, cheddar
- Avoid trans fats. They are artificial and associated with a whole host of health issues.
- Prepare meals with & consume extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats & antioxidants that possess anti-inflammatory properties. We love to use olive oil & spices (hot crushed red pepper, garlic powder, sea salt & parmesan cheese) instead of butter on bread.
How to Teach You Children About Nutrition
My sincere recommendation here would be to make the topic of nutrition (& personal wellbeing) and on-going conversation at the dinner table. Bring up these points and discuss them with your children – on a nightly or weekly basis. Invite discussion and encourage them to ask questions. And most importantly – model healthy eating & nutrition habits for them. You are their role model – so start acting like one!
I will keep adding to this – so please check back. Or, if you have any constructive input or suggestions – please leave a comment below!