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One of the best places for nipping this problem in the bud is at home. When the whole family makes healthy choices, you help your kids meet and maintain healthy weight goals.
Here are ways you can start.
Simple, easy steps can make a big difference in children’s lives. Make fruits and veggies part of every meal. Grocery shop with your kids so they gain knowledge about nutrition and good food choices. When you do, you help your kids build healthy habits for life.
Studies show what kids eat at home affects what foods they choose to eat at school, along with their overall attitude toward food. Eating a lot of processed foods and drinking sugary drinks at home can lead to unhealthy habits.
Teach your kids what to look for on nutrition labels when choosing healthier snacks. Here are just a few things to check on food labels:
Steer your kids away from foods that contain trans fats. These foods boost the production of “bad” cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food manufacturers to show how much trans fats are in prepared foods. Look for this on the label and limit your purchase of these products.
What else should you look for on the label? Look at the percent of daily values for saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Add the numbers together. Values of five percent and less are low. Values of 20 percent and more are high.
To fight obesity, set easy fitness goals to get you and your family moving. Take a 30-minute walk each day, play tag, dance in your living room or go to the park.
Plan your menus for the weekThinking about meals ahead of time will help ensure your family eats healthier. Plus, it saves you time and money at the grocery store.
Add color to your tableKeep fruits and veggies on the table so your children are more likely to make healthy choices. We all eat more of the foods that are easy to reach.
The hand is the ideal measuring tool to help children, teens and adults gauge portion size.
When you eat out, ask what fats are used for cooking and in sauces and dressings. Many restaurants now offer trans-fat-free foods.
How do you help your kids eat better at home? Does it help?
Originally published 9/15/2014; Revised 2017, 2021, 2023
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