This is a guest blog post by Melissa Halas-Liang, MA RD CDE
Today’s children are at an ever increasing risk of becoming overweight and obese and developing related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and certain cancers. Here’s my story, and how I hope to help the next generation increase their chances for healthy adulthood.
A few years ago, as a new mom, I’d see others give their children alphabet cookies (“aren’t they so cute?!”), fruit roll ups (“it’s fruit right?”), low fat girl scout cookies (“they’re only 110 calories -they must be good for you!”) and realized that in order to protect tomorrow’s future, we needed to engage not only today’s youth, but their parents as well.
As a Registered Dietitian (RD) with a focus on functional foods, I knew that other mothers would feed their kids well, if they only knew that green leafy vegetables protect the eyes or that blueberries could improve memory. Parents want to do what is best for their children, but without sound nutrition knowledge, how can they know what is best and act accordingly?
I decided to make it my life’s work to teach them. My overall goal was no small task: “to save the world one healthy food at a time”. But how can one dietitian compete for both a child’s attention and their parents?
I decided to create cartoon characters to entertain kids while subtly promoting healthy eating ideals. I built a website called www.superkidsnutrition.com that would be a trusted source of accurate and evidenced-based nutrition-related information AND entertaining as well. The Super Crew characters featured on the website, are the basis for two children’s books, and utilized in community outreach programs and curriculum.
Each of the eight Super Crew characters obtain different super powers from whole foods they eat and enjoy. The Super Crew is a teaching tool, used to attract kids towards eating whole foods rather than those that are processed and packaged and teach children that good nutrition can not only taste great, but can be fun too!
At the same time, the Super Kids Nutrition website and blog provides parents with child feeding tips and advice on a wide variety of topics such as baby’s first food, teens and body image, quick inexpensive meals, healthy ways to celebrate holidays and birthdays, how to stay fit as a family and many more.
So far, Superkids Nutrition has partnered with over 3,000 schools in 40 states and have close to 40 million visits per month on the nutrition and health content! We do our best to inspire, providing nutrition and tips to stay fit every day and share helpful resources with organizations that share a similar vision of a healthy America. Join the discussion on our facebook page, follow us twitter and be inspired to help children reach their full health potential. Ultimately, good nutrition practices provide children with the foundation for a healthier future and build healthier communities.
Melissa Halas-Liang, MA, RD, CDE, is a nationally recognized nutrition educator and wellness expert and founder of superkidsnutrition.com. She teaches nutrition through www.nutritioned.net and serves as spokesperson for the California Dietetic Association. Follow Melissa on facebook or twitter: @fitnutrition