Life out of the Fast Food Lane

Duston Morris, PhD health science
 (photo courtesy 3 Sport Fitness coaching and training)
Is your family still struggling to get out of the fast food lane?  Our is still making efforts to completely break this unhealthy habit.  Health and fitness expert Duston Morris, PhD, has been encouraging me to make better choices everyday that affect our entire family's long-term health.  He warns that what we feed even young children matters, and he's talking about more than calories and fat.  Here are some tips Morris suggests for getting started:

Promote water as the drink of choice:  Our bodies need water, not sugary drinks.  That includes so-called sports drinks that are filled with sweet, flavorful ingredients we don't need.  Of course, no soda.  Even juices provide too much sugar, Morris says.  He suggests not only taking fresh water along each day, but keeping a backup supply in the car so you never run out.

Pack convenient meals and snacks:  "If you're trying to break that habit, you have to have convenient things that you can replace that food with."  Morris suggests fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, plus whole grains, lean meats and wholesome varieties of things like cheese.  A backup supply of nonperishable foods in the car could include nuts or granola bars. 

Make real food fun:  "When you can, try and focus on natural, organic foods, or at least foods that are not processed."  Morris stresses that when parents model good eating behavior, kids can learn to appreciate the flavors and colors of real foods instead of the lure of processed ones.  Morris talks a lot about making better choices, "If we choose to eat more processed foods, we are choosing foods that have a higher concentration of sodium, sugar and numerous additives and preservatives."

Morris is Head Trainer at Spring River Wellness Center in Kansas, as well as part of 3 Sport Fitness and Alive with Mission Me student curriculum program.  He's accustomed to helping athletes reach their full potential by advising them on fitness plans and healthy diets.  Many use his help to increase their competitive edge in triathlons.  Morris says the exercise is actually only about 20% of our fitness and health, while 80% is what we eat.  He tells athletes, "You eat to train, not train to eat."  It seems that even if we're not promoting athletic competitiveness in our children, watching their diets more closely can help them achieve more in everyday life.
For more in-depth information about how modern convenience foods affect us, Morris suggests this presentation by Dr. Robert Lustig, MD. 

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