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Family Fitness: Childhood Obesity and Green Light Foods.

Posted by Bert on 4/18/2013 to Family Fitness
Last week, after watching my guilty pleasure General Hospital, a promo for Katie Couric aired that caught my attention: The Secrets of Child Weight healthy foods, kidsLoss; the statistic that they gave was alarming. “A third of all children in this country are overweight. In the past 25 years, the number of obese kids has doubled,” read the script on her show’s website. I just knew that I had to watch. My kids aren’t obese but they’re both under the age of five and since I’ve struggled with my own weight since the age of ten I just know that the genetics aren’t in their favor.

Joanna Dolgoff, author of the book and program, Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right, has created a simple program that teaches kids to make good food choices. The thing that I love about the program is that it’s focused on making the right food choice. Here’s how it works:

healthy kids foods Green Light Foods – Foods that help us grow and go! Otherwise known as, grow foods. Fruits and veggies are it. You can eat these at any time!

Yellow Light Foods – These are foods that you can eat daily but in limited quantities such as cereal, milk, eggs, etc.

Red Light Foods – You guessed it…STOP! Think about it. These are foods that you can eat but not daily.

I think this promotes a healthy approach to eating without too much focus on food that your child must stay away from. I created a chart and my son and I talked about which foods were Green Light Foods and which were Red Light Foods. Then he helped me choose the images and we put them into our chart.

Now, Brennan, my son, is a big time snacker. He’d like to snack all day long on animal crackers and graham crackers. And since Easter just happened we’ve had tons of candy and chocolate lying around the house. Our eating habits really needed a kick in the butt.

After having the chart up for an afternoon Brennan loved looking at the food and then making Green Light choices. The chart has been up for a week and he’s been showing every person that comes to our house what Green Light Foods are. On Sunday we had to do some work on our previous home to get it ready for renters to move in; not doing a good job planning snacks to bring we had a lot of quick food – chips, candy, etc. The next day, after the sugar binge, Brennan was begging me for one thing – Red Light Foods. He calls junk food that now and it seems to be sticking. I find myself making better choices too now because of our little chart.

You can download it too and print it off for your own use.

Bio: Bert is a stay at home mom of two, wife to college sweetheart, and what she calls a "semi-crunchy" mama. After four years of being overweight related to pregnancies, Bert submitted a video entry into a local Biggest Loser type of fitness challenge; she was chosen and lost 25% of her body weight in 90 days. She blogs at FirstTimeMom about everything from cloth diapers, parenting, life and her recent passion with health and fitness.



Rachel N
Date: 4/19/2013
My kids are still too young to ask for junk food, they like it but rarely ever get it. I like this idea for when they get bigger though. Especially once they are in school and get exposed to more junk foods.
Date: 4/19/2013
I'm expecting my first and am definitely going to keep this in the back of my mind for when he asks for snacks! I love the idea of giving them guidelines but letting them choose. Hope it will prevent some battle of the wills :)
Date: 4/19/2013
I'm expecting my first and am definitely going to keep this in the back of my mind for when he asks for snacks! I love the idea of giving them guidelines but letting them choose. Hope it will prevent some battle of the wills :)
Date: 4/21/2013
Like the idea of the color system, but I don't like the fat free cheese push, none of the ingredients in that "slice" are good. Better to just abstain from dairy, if that's the substitution. I suggest you check out if you want to upgrade your family's meals, that's a great site.
Leela R.
Date: 4/22/2013
This is a great idea and one that I'll have to remember once my baby gets older and starts eating solid foods. It's never too early to promote healthy food choices.
Date: 4/26/2013
Ooh I have to get that book. My hubby and son are snackers! My son loves traffic light games, (for ex the dancing game where you say green light, then red light and they have to stop dancing). I think this would help him a ton we can make it a game too somehow. TY!
Samantha Lippard
Date: 4/28/2013
This is such a great idea and it will help my daughter pick healthier snacks!
Date: 4/28/2013
Seems like this super-simplified system would be just as effective for grown-ups---- focus on fruits and vegetables, and associate those unhealthy "convenience" foods with a red light

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