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Olympic-sized Energy: Gold Medalist Summer Sanders Shares 7 Healthy Eating Tips

If you think cooking healthy for two young school-age children requires exceptional skill, you’re right! Juggling a career and trying to appeal to different tastes makes it even more difficult to keep everyone happy and healthy all the time. But here are some simple, small steps that I use in my kitchen to keep the family on the right path to better health. Check them out, after the jump! — Summer Sanders

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  • Skip sugary cereals 1 of 7
    Skip sugary cereals
    Instead, start everyday with a balanced breakfast that includes fiber to help you absorb food a little slower, fruit for nutrients, and milk for calcium. A balanced breakfast helps everyone feel satisfied and gives kids the potential to have a great day and make better food choices during the day. Having breakfast together every morning is also a great way to reconnect with your family.
    Photo credit: Shutterstock
  • Step away from the sandwich 2 of 7
    Step away from the sandwich
    Instead, pack a healthy lunch that will keep your kids energized throughout the day. Too often, the usual sandwich ingredients consist of preserved, toxic meats, processed cheeses, processed refined breads, and condiments loaded with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, artificial colors, and polyunsaturated oils and trans fats. Instead pack fruits, vegetables, hummus, or yogurt that require very little prep work.
    Photo credit: iStockPhoto
  • Make eating healthy fun 3 of 7
    Make eating healthy fun
    Kids have a misconception that healthy food tastes bad. An easy way to get around this is to make food look fun and make it fun to eat. One way to do this might include making a salad bar. Kids are very hands on so if they can build their own salad, there's a good chance they'll eat it. Another idea might be to let them make their own pizza, and offer healthier toppings such as grilled chicken versus processed pepperoni. You'll be surprised how healthy a child will eat if they can make their own choices!
    Photo credit: Shutterstock
  • Get your kids involved in meal planning 4 of 7
    Get your kids involved in meal planning
    Flood them with lots of healthy options and brainstorm ways to make recipes even healthier, such as using chopped fruits for toppings on desserts, swapping out whipped cream with low-fat yogurt, or using bananas as natural sweeteners in muffins or waffles.
    Photo credit: Shutterstock
  • Keep a calendar in the kitchen 5 of 7
    Keep a calendar in the kitchen
    Highlight months that feature seasonal vegetables and fruits. Print out healthy recipes from the Internet that use these foods to encourage a "meal planning" session where the kids can choose the recipe that most appeals to them! Kids love being part of the meal-planning process because it makes them feel special and
    in control.
    Photo credit: iStockPhoto
  • Keep healthy snacks in a special place 6 of 7
    Keep healthy snacks in a special place
    Designate an area in your refrigerator or cupboard for healthy snacks that you have selected and your kids like. Then, let them choose their snacks at snack time themselves, without having to ask for help or permission.
    Photo credit: iStockPhoto
  • Encourage other parents to eat healthier 7 of 7
    Encourage other parents to eat healthier
    Inspire the parents of your children's friends to adopt healthier eating practices. Encourage them to replace one item in their daily routine with a healthier alternative and to use social media to share new recipes and ideas. For instance, this new GE app available on Facebook called HealthyShare makes it easy to grab ideas from your social networks and inspire and encourage your family and friends to
    get healthy.
    Photo credit: iStockPhoto

 

Summer Sanders is a mother of two and two-time Olympic gold medalist. At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Sanders emerged as the most decorated U.S. swimmer, winning four medals — two gold, a silver, and a bronze. After retiring from swimming, Sanders pursued a career in television and has since become a health and fitness advocate. 

 

 

Photo credits: SummerSanders.net

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