Childhood obesity is a major problem in this country. The snack food industry continues to find more ways to pump out prepackaged, unhealthy foods that are more convenient and seemingly less expensive than child nutrition alternatives. Combine that with limited school budgets that are forced to cut out recess and other extracurricular activities, and you are left with a generation of children growing up overweight.

There is good news on the horizon. Many fruits and vegetables have versatile preparation options that are fantastic alternatives to junk food and can be prepared in advance with very little effort.

As a parent, there is so much self-imposed guilt when feeling as though we are not doing enough to monitor our child(ren)'s diet. Full time jobs, endless 'to-do' lists, and time - all conspire to make us feel worse when we believe that we have no other option than to choose the quick and easy unhealthy meals.

The other half is to convince your child(ren) to eat more fruits and vegetables. If they are picky eaters, this can be difficult. That's why I recommend a book called The Adventures of Tommy The Tomato by author and nutritionist, Jay Holt. It's a fantastic book of color-filled illustrations for both children and parents about nutrition. Tommy and his friends are a group of fruits and vegetables who teach kids cake about the fun of eating healthy. Each character is named after a letter of the alphabet, so it's easy to follow and reinforces primary learning. Children relate to each page of the story while learning about good nutrition.

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