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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published Jan. 1, 2009                                                         

Healthy habits for kids
in the New Year
Robert Crown Center offers healthy resolutions, recipes
and eating tips for kids in 2009

  By Christine Cuthbert

   It’s a startling statistic.
   According to the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, kids in this area are almost 2 1/2 times more likely to be overweight than those nationwide.
   “We are at a turning point. This could be the first generation of kids that could be outlived by their parents,” said Jon Scoles, strategic director of marketing for the Robert Crown Center for Health Education in Hinsdale. “It’s a real public health crisis.”
   For years Robert Crown has focused on a number of societal issues affecting children and teens. In recent years importance has been placed back on the obesity epidemic, Scoles said. And while fast food is more available and finding fresh fruits and vegetables nearby is a challenge for urban communities, Scoles said getting children to see the impact of what they’re putting in their bodies is a problem throughout the Chicagoland area.
   This month educators from Robert Crown will go into Prospect School and show students molds that illustrate what five pounds of fat looks like in the body versus five pounds of muscle.
   “We tell the kids how many grams of fat are in a double cheeseburger and how many grams of sugar are in a soda, but it’s one thing to read a label. It’s another thing to see what it actually looks like,” Scoles said.
   Simple changes to children’s snacks and exercise routines can vastly improve their lives and potential longevity. Scoles said it’s important to keep kids hydrated, and water is the best thing for them to drink.
   “The pops and the juices really need to be cut out and replaced with water and milk,” he said. “A lot of the time parents see 100 percent juice and think, ‘Oh this must be healthy,’ but it’s really high in sugar.”
   Scoles recommends mixing juices with water in order to keep the flavor but dilute the amount of sugar being consumed. He also recommends upping the amount of fruits and vegetables in their diet.
   “Kids do pretty well with fruits because they’re convenient, but when you start talking vegetables it’s difficult,” he said. “A lot of the time it’s a tactile issue. Some kids don’t like the feeling of soft, mushy cooked veggies, but you can get creative and try to serve them raw. I know sometimes I’ll give my son the frozen veggies before they’ve been cooked and he’ll eat them that way.”
   If kids don’t like the taste of certain fruits and veggies, Scoles recommends looking for little ways to make them flavorful without adding needless calories.
   “A lot of parents get frustrated,” he said. “But if your child doesn’t want to eat a sliced apple, try sprinkling a little cinnamon on it for variety. It’s a great way to add flavor without the sugar.”
   David Bedney, who manages the Robert Crown Campus in Homan Square, said in order for kids to live healthy lifestyles, it’s important to educate parents as well.
   “We had the kids do a two day food log of what they were eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Bedney said. “We had them draw pictures of what they were eating and share them with their parents so they can see what they’re actually taking in on a daily basis.”

Kid-friendly recipe
   Robert Crown recently put together a cookbook of healthy recipes submitted by community members that includes the following lunch or snack food.
   For more information on how to obtain a copy of “50 Recipes for 50 Years,” call (630) 325-1900.

Tortilla wheels

   2/3 cup light cream cheese
   2 large tortillas, warmed
   1/2 cup shredded carrots
   8 to 10 leaves of baby spinach, trimmed
   6 slices deli turkey
   6 slices mozzarella or provolone cheese

   Spread the cream cheese over the entire tortilla and then top with carrots and spinach. Then add layer of cheese slices and turkey. Roll up like a wrap and cut into eight pieces.


       Making a Difference is a yearlong partnership between The Hinsdalean
and the Robert Crown Center for Health Education, which works
to teach and motivate youth to lead healthy, happy and safe lives.



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