11 am: 66°FSunny

1 pm: 66°FSunny

3 pm: 73°FSunny

5 pm: 74°FSunny

More Weather

When mom's a junk-food junkie, kids are as well

Apr. 24, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Almost 40 years ago, the song "Junk Food Junkie" told it like it is: "When that clock strikes midnight/And I'm all by myself/ ... I pull out some Fritos corn chips, Dr Pepper and an ol' Moon Pie/Then I sit back in glorious expectation/Of a genuine junk-food high." Decades later, North Americans still are addicted to high-fat, sugar-loaded treats -- and we're passing the craving to future generations. Pregnant moms who eat junk food give birth to kids with a built-in tolerance to these unhealthy, processed foods. That makes the little ones crave more and more fat and sugar to get the feel-good sensation these foods trigger. The result: kids who are overweight, pre-diabetic and depressed.

What do you do if you and your children are JFJs? Try our three steps to family freedom from junk-food follies.

1. Admit you have a problem and decide together that you want to solve it. Without resolve and mutual support, you'll all have a much harder time getting unhealthful food out of your diet.

2. Give up one indulgence a week: Cut out the un-happy meal: Eat home-cooked lean protein (salmon and trout), 100 percent whole grains and veggies instead. Do you buy yourself a candy bar on weekends? Opt for a piece of fruit instead.

3. Get physical: Walking for 30-60 minutes a day will stimulate your feel-good brain chemicals and help make up for junk food's addictive buzz that you're giving up.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

()