Did you know that approximately 1 out of every 3 new toys given to a child annually is from a fast food restaurant kid’s meal? No wonder 12.5 million children and adolescents in America are obese.1 Enough is Enough! It’s time to show our children that eating healthy is delicious.
It’s up to us to empower our children to make better dietary choices. Let’s start by showing them healthier ways to make their favourite fast food dishes.
Let’s take the hell out of healthy!
Taco Bell’s Fiesta Taco Salad – Chicken:
“A crispy tortilla bowl filled with marinated all-white-meat chicken, and loaded with chunky beans, real cheddar cheese, premium Latin rice, crisp shredded lettuce, diced ripe tomatoes, red tortilla strips, reduced-fat sour cream and served with citrus salsa on the side”.
calories: 730 (YIKES), fat: 35g (YIKES), saturated fat: 7g, cholesterol: 70mg, sodium: 1290mg (YIKES), carbohydrates 71mg (YIKES), fiber: 8g, sugars: 8 g, protein: 32g
And that’s not including the 40 oz Mountain Dew Baja Blast (550 calories, 145 g carbs and 145 g sugar!) and the 200 calorie crunchy taco supreme with which they want you to pair it. I’m most disturbed that the Taco Bell website recommends the notion of pairing an already super-sized meal high in fat, carbs and calories with a second meal and a super-sized sugary soda! Perhaps they should also pair it with super-sized coffin? No wonder I’m seeing a rise in dental decay and obesity-related illnesses (type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, strokes and heart disease) on a daily basis in my practice.
Sara’s Fiesta Taco Salad – Chicken:
“A portobello mushroom cap (“bowl”) filled with extra lean ground chicken, and loaded with vegan mozeralla cheese, diced ripe cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, yellow peppers and cucumbers, topped with spicy guacamole”.
Even one of the gigantic mushroom caps won’t add significantly to your daily calorie intake. So have two! Besides, portobello mushrooms provide you with copper, folate, niacin, potassium and calcium!14 And did you know portobello mushrooms are just crimini mushrooms grown to a large size?
Nutritional Info (for 2 bowls):
calories: 291, fat: 15.7g, saturated fat: 9g, cholesterol: 64.1mg, sodium: 287.8mg, carbohydrates 21.4mg, fiber: 10g, NET CARBS: 11.4 g, sugars: 2.7 g, protein: 28.5g
- Wash and dry 2 large portobello mushroom caps. Tear/cut off the stalks and use a spoon to scoop out a portion of the inside of the mushroom cap (to create a deeper bowl).
- Place the 2 caps (and all the extra pieces of the mushroom you removed) onto a non-stick skillet (or use non-stick cooking spray). Flip the caps to grill them on both sides.
- In another skillet (use non-stick cooking spray), cook extra lean ground chicken. Season it with black pepper.
- Wash and cut 4 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup cucumber and 1/2 cup of yellow pepper
- Once the chicken and caps are finished, measure 3 oz of chicken and place 1.5 oz into each mushroom bowl. Top the chicken in each bowl with
- The leftover mushroom pieces
- The cherry tomatoes, cucumber and yellow peppers
- 1/8 cup Daiya Vegan Cheese Mozzarella Style Shreds (1/16 cup for each bowl)
- Daiya Vegan Cheese, which is free of dairy (casein, whey and lactose), soy, gluten, eggs, rice, peanuts and tree nuts (except coconut oil). It is also cholesterol & trans-fat free and contains no preservatives. You can find it in the cheese section of your grocery store.
- 1 TBSP of Spicy Wholly Guacamole on each bowl. (You can purchase it at your grocery store).
- 1 tsp of Salsa or Guacamole Seasoning on each bowl.
- Season with Black Pepper
Discussion: White Poison
- Did you know the average North American consumes 100 grams of sugar per day (and 160 pounds a year!)? That’s the equivalent of eating 25 sugar cubes in one day! It’s no secret that excess sugar consumption is implicated in obesity. According to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) report published in the journal Circulation, several studies have linked high sugar intake to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and type 2 diabetes. And let’s not forget about dental decay!
- If you consume a meal containing more sugars and simple carbohydrates than your body can utilize, then the extra sugar will be stored as unsightly fat. So how do you prevent this? According to Donald Layman, Ph.D, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois, non-exercisers should be consuming less than 40g of carbohydrates at each meal, which is the most your body can effectively process 2 hours postprandial. Ideally, you should be exercising and consuming a portion-controlled diet comprised of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats.
- To quote Jeff O’Connell, author of Sugar Nation, “Your bloodstream is supposed to contain a teaspoon or so of glucose at any given moment. Tissues begin suffering damage when this small amount rises by even one-fourth. … The linings of arteries and capillaries begin suffering damage. … High blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and diabetes likely aren’t far behind15”.
Health Canada has set the adequate daily intake of sodium at 1500mg (with an upper tolerable limit of 2300mg). Salt is ubiquitous, and thanks to sodium-laced processed and restaurant foods, Canadians are now consuming an average of 3100mg of sodium a day! Excessive sodium intake can cause high blood pressure, which is linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. Here’s the Bottom line: cut salt, improve health.
Tips for reducing your sodium intake:
- Throw away your salt shaker.
- Season your food with salt-free seasoning (Mrs. Dash), herbs (dill), black pepper, garlic, onion, citrus juice and zest.
- Avoid processed and fast food because it notoriously contains high sodium levels. This includes soups, deli meats, chips, crackers, canned foods, frozen dinners, fast foods.
- Make special requests to hold the salt when ordering food in restaurants.
Childhood Obesity: A “Growing” Epidemic
Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost TRIPLED!1
Childhood obesity can have a harmful effect on the body. Obese children are more likely to have2:
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
- Increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.3
- Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, and asthma.4,5
- Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort.4,6
- Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastro-esophageal reflux (heartburn).3,4
- Obese children and adolescents have a greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adulthood.3,7,8
- Obese children are more likely to become obese adults.9, 10, 11 Adult obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.12
- If children are overweight, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.13
Sara’s Tips to Combat the Childhood Obesity Epidemic:
- Provide plenty of veggies & fruits. My mom used to pre-wash, cut and serve the veggies and fruit in glass dishes. She would strategically place these dishes on the kitchen counter when my sister and I would get home from school. She knew we were ravenous and ready to “pig out” when we got home, so she was prepared.
- Limit sugary junk food. A perfect example would be replacing sugary breakfast cereal with my recipe for Banana Perfection Pancakes.
- Avoid sugary soda pop. If your child refuses to give up soda pop, I recommend Zevia(calorie-free, sugar free pop sweetened with stevia). I also recommend this as a dentist! Do you have any idea how much rampant decay I see every week on children and teenagers’ teeth because of sugary soda pop?
- Get them involved in enjoyable activities, such as “family Wii Dance Night”, outdoor jump rope, local soccer leagues, etc.
- Pre-pack school lunch boxes the night before and ensure they are involved with the healthy selections. The more involved the child is with the grocery shopping and meal preparations, the more likely they will want to eat their own ideas!
- Throw away junk food in your fridge, freezer and pantries. A household full of healthy food will be a household that eats healthy food.
- If you eat out at restaurants, avoid fast food joints.
*REMEMBER: Your health is your freedom. Without it, you have nothing. It’s time to start defending your health and the health of your children.
- My healthy recipes for:
- Get my FREE healthy recipes (that look like cheats) here!
- I also recommend you peruse my Intermittent Fasting Blog.
- Work out with me! Try my FREE High Intensity Resistance Circuit Videos today!
- Read the CDC Website for more info about Childhood Obesity and How to Combat it.
- NCHS Health E-Stat. Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: United States, Trends 1963-1965 Through 2007-2008 by Cynthia Ogden, Ph.D., and Margaret Carroll, M.S.P.H., Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/obesity_child_07_08/obesity_child_07_08.htm
- Whitlock EP, Williams SB, Gold R, Smith PR, Shipman SA. Screening and interventions for childhood overweight: a summary of evidence for the US Preventive Services Task Force.Pediatrics. 2005;116(1):e125—144.
- Han JC, Lawlor DA, Kimm SY. Childhood obesity. Lancet. May 15 2010;375(9727):1737—1748.
- Sutherland ER. Obesity and asthma. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2008;28(3):589—602, ix.
- Taylor ED, Theim KR, Mirch MC, et al. Orthopedic complications of overweight in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. Jun 2006;117(6):2167—2174.
- Dietz W. Health consequences of obesity in youth: Childhood predictors of adult disease.Pediatrics 1998;101:518—525.
- Swartz MB and Puhl R. Childhood obesity: a societal problem to solve. Obesity Reviews 2003; 4(1):57—71.
- Biro FM, Wien M. Childhood obesity and adult morbidities. Am J Clin Nutr. May 2010;91(5):1499S—1505S.
- Whitaker RC, Wright JA, Pepe MS, Seidel KD, Dietz WH. Predicting obesity in young adulthood from childhood and parental obesity. N Engl J Med 1997;37(13):869—873.
- Serdula MK, Ivery D, Coates RJ, Freedman DS. Williamson DF. Byers T. Do obese children become obese adults? A review of the literature. Prev Med 1993;22:167—177.
- National Institutes of Health. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults: the Evidence Report. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 1998.
- Freedman DS, Khan LK, Dietz WH, Srinivasan SR, Berenson GS. Relationship of childhood overweight to coronary heart disease risk factors in adulthood: The Bogalusa Heart Study.Pediatrics 2001;108:712—718.
- O’Connell, Jeff. Sugar Nation: The Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It. Hyperion, 2010.