Friday, April 27, 2012

Raising a healthy kid....

On twitter today Ashley posted a picture of a recipe that was sent home from school with her son. I am not totally sure how it was branded, whether it was supposed to be super healthy, or fun, or easy, or whatever, but the point is, it was NOT healthy. And seeing it stirred up many emotions, mostly related to my classes on health promotion and program planning. I had to do quite a bit of research on childhood obesity for a program we had to develop. The state of Georgia has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the nation. Rural counties have even higher rates than inner-city areas.

I don't have kids, but as someone who has struggled with their weight their whole life, it's really not hard to understand why kids are FAT.

My research focused on what we could control, which was the calories kids consumed at school. Since many schools have before and after-school programs, kids are now consuming more calories at school than they ever did before. And the schools are exactly offering exceptionally high quality foods.

I get it. Processed food that isn't fresh is cheap. Bottom line...everyone is looking to save a buck. If I was a single parent, struggling to make ends meet, working at least one, maybe two jobs, I would probably be tempted to pick up food from the dollar-menu at McDonalds myself.

But for those of us that have the means, and the time, cooking can be FUN, HEALTHY, and INFORMATIVE.

Overweight kids have an 80% chance of becoming obese adults. 80%! That is HUGE. Children are like sponges, they absorb everything around them. They learn from what they are exposed to. So the solution? Limit TV, computer, and video game time. Kids over the age of 6 watch an average of 4 hours of television a DAY. That is more than I watch in a week!

 Focus on YOUR health. Yes, it might require that you take some time away from your kids, but you being a healthy, active adult is the best example that you can set for your kids! So skip the "kids" yogurts loaded with sugar, the "kids cuisines" meals that are high in sodium, the fruit juices that are actually only 20% juice, the cereals that might as well be candy bars, and bake up some yummy alternatives!

Huge thanks to Kacie for turning me on to this gem of a website! I made some modifications, so here is my version of the Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars:

1 can Organic Chickpeas
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2/3 cup Turbinado
2 Tablespoons Natural, unsalted, Almond Butter
1/8 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 tablespoons Organic dark-chocolate chips

Drain the chickpeas. In a food processor blend up the chickpeas until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT for the chocolate chips. Blend until smooth. Add chocolate chips and mix with a spoon. Use a greased 8x8 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Makes 12 bars. Each serving has:
104 Calories
3.3 grams of fat
16.25 grams of carbohydrates
2.4 grams of protein

These are gluten and dairy free. What they aren't free of is deliciousness!

**disclaimer: Dani doesn't have kids, and doesn't know the difficulties associated with raising miniature people. She does have the energy and maturity level of children, so she easily associates with their needs. Dani thinks kids like being healthy, because being fat sucks. **


  1. LOVE THIS!!!!! Thanks for sharing, Dani! My kids will love these! Thankfully, my little ones turn their noses up at junk food. They actually prefer carrots and broccoli to other snacks. Sad to think that many kids NEVER taste real food these days!!!!!!!!

  2. Dani, what dairy free protein do you use? Thats my biggest struggle to find. I hate soy and all the egg protein powders Ive found are to sweet. PS- Ash's recipe got me too, I made a casserole - I think you could ever sneak in the veggies on your man. Ive tricked my father-in-law many times

  3. I use Garden of Life. It's a brown rice protein powder. On its own it isn't very tasty, but it mixes up well in shakes and recipes. Sneaking veggies? I must know how! I'm trying to get him with juicing and it's not working. Ashley, that is awesome about your kids! I grew up on lean cuisines and KFC, so I didn't taste real food until I was an adult! :)