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Top Five Family Foods

By Dr. William Sears

As a pediatrician and father of eight, I'm personally and professionally concerned that my family eats healthy and nutritious foods at both snack and mealtimes. Most parents find it tough to get their families to agree on a healthy diet, but it's really not that difficult. The key is finding foods that appeal to all, and most importantly, deliver the maximum nutrition bite per bite. Once your family understands which foods work best for your bodies, you'll start to look at food differently. You'll find that there's a wide array of readily available foods that not only deliver excellent nutrition, but great taste, as well.

I know first-hand that the food your family eats has a profound effect on their physical, emotional and intellectual health. The following are the five foods I recommend no family be without:

  • Whole grains - Grains are rich sources of proteins, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and are low in fat. Two thirds of the calories in grains come from carbohydrates, which makes them great energy foods for the entire family.

  • Yogurt - Yogurt is a good source of protein and an excellent source of calcium. It's a versatile convenience food with strong "kid appeal." But all yogurts are not created equal. Look for the live and active culture seal on the cup to ensure you're getting the most nutritional value from your yogurt.

  • Fish/Tuna Fish/Salmon - There are a lot of fish in the sea and you can choose the one your family likes best. Fish oils are healthy because they contain the two essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are particularly valuable as nutrients for the cells of the brain and nervous system. They have also been linked to reducing total blood fats, reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol.

  • Papaya - Papaya is a great tasting fruit that is both sweet and nutritious. It's rich in calcium and fiber and adds a touch of the exotic to everyday meals.

  • Avocado - Avocado is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, along with Vitamin A, Vitamin B, fiber and protein. Its good fat and high calorie content makes it a good "growth" food your children.

The family nutrition battle is being lost at the checkout line. You should make crucial nutritional choices for your family before you go to the supermarket and plan your meals and snacks around them. Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy, wholesome foods that deliver nutrients along with great taste and you'll find that family nutrition falls into place.