Denise Sanger

Denise Sanger

Over the weekend, I came across an article: "The Fattest Cities in America" and the first sentence read Americans are the fattest people in the world. I thought to myself, “Wow.” That's it. Simply wow. That's kind of in your face isn't it? Was I surprised though? Not really. By the way the fattest cities in America are McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, followed by Shreveport-Bossier City, La., in second and Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark., in third place. 

We all know how obesity affects our health but it's time to take a look at how it's affecting our families. Especially our children. We need change and we need it now and that change must come from us — the adults — if we want healthy kids. Families are under a lot of stress from balancing the budget to balancing time. It's a given that some things will get lost along the way. One thing that we should not let go, however, is how we feed our families.  

What did surprise me as I continued digging deeper is that those getting hit the hardest by this epidemic are children under the age of 5. Think about that statement. Children are most vulnerable to many things because they do not make the decisions that affect them the most.   

Kids do not know how to properly fuel their bodies so it's up to adults to teach them. Unfortunately, many adults do not know either or are so exhausted, it's much simpler to hit the drive through on the way home. Please don't add more stress to an already hectic family life. That is not at all what this article is about. It is to simply remind us all to stop and make better choices for meals beginning today. Not all fast food is unhealthy. Matter of fact, many fast food restaurants now offer healthy alternatives. But if we don't choose these alternatives for our kids, they won't eat them.

Planning ahead and slowing things down just a little bit will help you make better decisions not only for yourself but those you care about as well. The best time to plan for the coming week is the weekend prior. Sit down, look at your calendar and circle the days that you know will be crazy for you and your family.  

On those crazy days, decide if it would be easier to have meals ready to toss into a crock pot before you leave home or meals you can quickly reheat when you arrive home for dinner. If you know you will not be eating dinner at home, decide ahead of time where you can quickly grab something. The following restaurants have healthy options available for busy families:

  1. Chipotle (burritos, tacos, and salads, with a variety of meats, veggies, rice, beans, and guacamole).
  2. Chick-fil-A (grilled chicken nuggets, chicken salads, grilled market salad, and multi-grain breakfast oatmeal).
  3. Wendy's (chicken salads and chicken wraps).
  4. McDonalds (yes, McDonalds has several delicious salads made with chicken and fruit).
  5. KFC (grilled chicken pieces and sides like green beans or corn on the cob).
  6. Subway (whole-grain bread, plus plenty of vegetables).

Taking the time to talk to our kids about healthy choices can go a long way. Beth Harris, who is a personal trainer at Country Strong Gym, will be hosting a program next month at the gym called “FitKids Born To Move” that will include educating kids on how to eat healthy along with exercise. Call the gym at 386-362-6954 for info. Another option if you're not sure which choices may be best, chat with an expert such as a dietitian or nutritionist. The results will be a healthier and happier family. Have an amazing week!

To your health,



Denise Sanger is an over 50 health/lifestyle blogger and speaker. Known for motivation, inspiration & loving the BEACH. Certified fitness instructor, Silver Sneakers Instructor, Zumba, STRONG by Zumba instructor, gentle flow yoga, teaches morning classes at Country Strong Gym. Denise may be reached at, 386-292-6105 or

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