INTERVIEW: Tips to make 2014 happy, healthy


by WHAS11

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 7 at 2:40 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Did your New Year’s resolutions involve losing weight or leading a healthier lifestyle?

Today we're helping you stick to your goals with some tips on how to make 2014 a happy and healthy new year!

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The New Year is upon us and it’s time to renew our commitment to a healthy lifestyle. This year attack the age-old lose weight and eat healthier pledge from a different perspective and make it a family resolution. Every parent knows, teaching children healthy lifestyle habits can be a challenge. But it’s not impossible – in fact, the building blocks to a healthy family can be as easy as A-B-C: Aim for Activity, Bring Back Breakfast and Choose Snacks Cautiously. 

Aim for Activity

Did you know that one out of three American adolescents is physically unfit? This sets the stage for heart disease later in life.  And the reported 7 ½ hours of screen time (TV, computer, video games, etc.) by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, our children engage in daily doesn’t help. To keep kids healthy, we need to keep them moving. The American Heart Association recommends that children get 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activity every day.

Make fitness fun and set attainable, not complicated goals. For example, start with a goal of 30 minutes of a family activity a week - playing ball, tag, bike riding, walking the dog, roller skating or house chores– the possibilities are endless.

Fit fitness in everywhere they can. Plan family events such as birthdays around physical activity, such as, softball games at the park or perhaps start the day off with a one-mile fun run benefiting a local charity. Purchase toys and gifts that will get kids off the couch and outside.

Bring Back Breakfast

In the hustle and bustle of the early morning hours many families are skipping the most important meal of the day: Breakfast!   Did you know that kids who eat breakfast have better attendance in school, improved test scores, superior nutrition and are less likely to be overweight?  This is a meal not to be missed!  As a registered dietitian and a mom, I love breakfast because it is an easy way to get nutrient rich foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy into my family before they start the day.  Research indicates the quality of foods children eat impacts their cognition. For this reason, it is best to focus on healthier choices during the school week. A balanced breakfast includes 3 of the 5 food groups: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy.  Kids can fuel up and still catch the bus with these quick breakfast ideas:  

  • Whole grain cereal, 1 cup milk and berries
  • Scrambled eggs, with red peppers and cheese and orange wedges
  • Cheese toast, with low-fat cheddar and whole grain bread and apple slices
  • Peanut butter-banana roll-up. Spread a tablespoon of peanut butter on a whole grain tortilla, add banana slices, roll and go.
  • Smoothie (see recipe)

Choose Snacks Cautiously

Children (and adults) are snacking more than ever!   It is estimated that snacking between meals is the source of nearly 600 calories each day for children. As a nutrition professional, I am not opposed to kids snacking, but I am opposed to what many of them are snacking on.  According to research, kids are snacking their way to poor health by munching between meals on processed foods like chips, cookies, and candy. These foods are nutritionally bankrupt! Completely void of the nutrients growing bodies need more of such as calcium, fiber, vitamin D and potassium.  Parents can help kids snack smart by stocking the fridge and pantry with nutrient rich foods, such as fruits, veggies, 100 % whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Foods should fuel their growing bodies and give them energy throughout the day, not set the stage for chronic disease.   Healthy snacks shouldn’t be boring or bland, serve up these kid approved snack ideas and the whole family won’t miss the junky stuff.

  • Snack kabobs: Skewer cubes of low fat cheese and grapes on pretzel sticks
  • Ants on a log: Celery sticks spread with peanut butter and topped with raisins
  • Yogurt parfait- Layer yogurt with berries and low fat granola
  • Trail Mix (Include cereal, nuts, and dried fruit)
  • Pita chips and hummus

Terry Sullivan said it best, “Remember, your child learn from you so you must always set the example. If you are not making time for exercise, and eating right, how can you expect them to? And be consistent and follow through. If you are starting this New Year off differently, do not lose focus and make it a yearlong effort and not just for a few weeks.” Don’t lose sight of your resolutions purpose, this year just keep your family moving with exercise, breakfast, and smart snacks.

Rebecca Turner MS RD CSSD is a mom, nutrition expert, and runner. Reversing obesity in Mississippi is a marathon, not a sprint. For more information email her at or tweet her @myRDrebecca

Banana-Nut Breakfast Smoothie


  • 1 large fully-ripened banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal, such as Quaker Essentials Puffed Rice
  • 3/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter (no salt or sugar added)