Column: A plea to parents: Set a healthy example
I hope you all are staying active and warm throughout this cold weather we've been having. This past month, I had the privilege of going into the elementary school with Marilyn Hofland to talk to students about the importance of exercise in preventing type II diabetes.
This month, I would like to challenge parents and any other adults who have young children or young adults who look up to them. My challenge to the community is this: The next time you go grocery shopping, stick toward the outer aisles as much as you can. The reason I am challenging the community with this is because when I was talking with the youth of our schools, there was one response I continued to get from each age group, and it made me truly realize the impact you all have in the lives of our youth. Many children commented on their parents' unhealthy lifestyles, whether it was about them sitting on the couch watching television or about the selection of foods provided in their house.
Children learn their eating and exercise patterns from their parents. Each parent in this community and around the world has the power to influence many factors of a child's life - the sports he or she is in, school involvement, religion, mental attitude, and numerous other factors.
As a community, we need to begin to establish healthy lifestyles in our younger generations.
If we do not step up and make the changes necessary in preventing this disease, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. These numbers do not represent another country, these numbers represent your children, your grandchildren, and in some cases, yourself. The things necessary to preventing this disease are a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and low in sugar, along with exercise to obtain and maintain a healthy weight for your body.
Within the coming months before Miss Minnesota, I, along with Jim Jensen, a former running back for the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers, who currently coordinates the Run Around Rose run each summer in Vergas to raise money for diabetes research, will be talking with middle school and high school students about ways to help prevent diabetes. I will also be planning my own 5k Run/Walk to raise money for the American Diabetes Association; more information on this will be coming soon.
Another way I am preparing for Miss Minnesota is with a trainer from Lakes Nutrition. If you need help sticking to New Year's resolutions or would like to get a head start on your summer physique, I encourage you to stop in to talk with the staff there. One of my favorite things about this business is the protein shakes. I usually try to make a protein smoothie each morning with the Herbalife protein I have purchased through them, but if you don't choose to do that, you can try one of their 60 different flavored protein shakes. My favorite is the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.
My recipe this month is what I have started doing for breakfast most days, and have gotten my mom started on, as well. I love to start my day off with a smoothie, and although the weather is cold, it is a timeless recipe because each day you can make it differently.
Strawberry Banana Delight
1 cup ice
1/2-3/4 cup of water
1/2-1 cup of strawberries (I use frozen strawberries)
1/2 of a banana
Blend everything together, putting ice and water in before the fruit, then enjoy. You could also put in 1/2 cup plain yogurt to add further nutritional benefits.