Healthy Youth Eat Pecans

Childhood obesity is one of the biggest problems among youth in the United States. According to the CDC, in 2012 (their latest statistics) more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. These children are more prone to develop Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke or osteoarthritis later in life, and in a study of 5-17 year olds, 70 percent of young people already had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Our children shouldn’t be facing adult diseases at such young ages.

As parents, we want to help our children lead happy, healthy lives. We teach them to look both ways before they cross the street. We tell them not to do drugs or drink and drive. We instill in them early the idea to eat healthfully and keep their bodies safe and strong.

There’s an ingredient you may not have thought about adding to your child’s diet. Pecans.

pecan

Pecans are healthful, readily available and can easily be added to almost any meal or snack. Chock full of 19 vitamins and minerals, and a great source of protein, pecans have few carbohydrates and no cholesterol or sodium. They truly are one of the most well-rounded nuts to include in your child’s diet.

Studies have shown that a diet high in antioxidants, such as those found in pecans, can decrease the risk of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Don’t we all want that for our children?

A few ideas on ways to incorporate pecans into your child’s favorite foods include:

Pecans also are an easy addition to rice, salads, cookies, and granola bars, or as a topper for ice cream and yogurt. The simplest way to enjoy pecans? Just grab a handful of pecans and start snacking! Raw or toasted, pecans have a rich texture and satisfy you for long-lasting energy.

Fill your children with healthy choices, both at mealtime and snack time, and encourage active, outdoor play. Taking back our children’s health is up to us. Let’s start now.

Recipes via: Southern Living, March 2008; Southern Living, March 2006; Southern Living, November 2009; Greatist.com, May 2013; Southern Living, August 2006.