No. 1192



The other day I read a statement about health that is so true - it is the one condition taken for granted by those who have it. If you have good health then we have something in common, and I am grateful for mine and I am sure you are grateful for yours as well. We know from all accounts that there are millions of Americans who do not have good health. They seem to constantly be in the doctor’s office or the hospital and paying through the nose for medical insurance. The person who first said, “When you have your health, you have just about everything,” really hit the nail on the head. When it comes to our health, genetics has a good deal to do with it, as we only have to look at our parents and other family members to have a pretty good idea of what our health future holds.
While my doctor tells me that I am in good health now, I can look back 20 years or so when I had to have triple bypass heart surgery not once but twice, and had to have a stent on another occasion. The reason this was necessary was due to some poor choices I made, like eating greasy steaks from the grill and all those mushy fried potatoes with artery-clogging grease that tasted so good. This brings me to the purpose of what I want to share with you during our time today. There are two basic things that can help most of us have a much better quality of life, especially in our later years, and these two things are diet and exercise.
When we really watch what we eat and do at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise each day, our chances of feeling good and living longer are greatly increased. When I started going to the gym three days each week and really watching what I was eating, my life improved greatly. As I am sure you know, most of our diet habits were formed when we were young, especially when we were in school.
These thoughts came to mind when I received some correspondence from Ashley Pontius, who is a publicist for Chef Zipora Einav, a private chef who has cooked for some of Hollywood’s most notable celebrities. Among the clients are Bob Hope, Jack Nicholson, Mariah Carey and professional athlete Donovan McNabb. What Ashley sent me was titled, “Four tips for packing a healthy school lunch that’s also cheap.”
She says, “When kids are in school, most parents have to pack a lunch for them. Planning a menu and shopping with a list each week helps to manage your budget because you only buy what is needed rather than going to the store each day. When they are old enough, it is also good to let them help prepare their lunches. This is an excellent time to talk with them about nutrition.”
Here are those four tips:
• For a healthier snack, offer baked vegetable chips or sweet potato fries rather than the packaged chips.
• Make home-baked chicken fingers or bake chicken to create a sandwich on whole wheat bread. Add lettuce.
• Include seasonal fruit such as apples, pears and strawberries.
• Does your child have a favorite vegetable like carrot sticks or celery? You can include a hummus dip (which is offered plain or comes in several flavors). You can also add whole-wheat crackers such as Wheat Thins or Breton.
Well, that is all I want to share from what Ashley Pontius shared with me. I realize this is not very exciting, but getting our children started out early in life with good eating habits can make all the difference in the world, and they will be healthier when they get older. And who objects to saving some money?
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)