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Wondering where to start? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers guidelines to help parents take real steps to prevent obesity. Everything from smarter grocery shopping and portion size to cooking with your kids, healthy snacks, sleep, screen time and exercise are covered.
Clear and easy to read, the guidelines offer a simple road map to nurture the kind of healthy lifestyle choices that can serve kids well for their lifetime.
Parents get to set the rules, decide what’s in the fridge and pantry, and which activities and entertainment their kids can access in their home. Make the most of that time. Steer them toward healthy choices by starting with these basics:
Gather around the kitchen or dining room table for a little family togetherness. Family meals are a great time to talk to each other. Research shows that families who eat together tend to eat more nutritious meals. Make eating together a priority. Try to have family meals at least two or three times a week.
What about those non-stop days that last from sunup till the last soccer practice? Eating well doesn’t have to take a lot of time. The best way to help kids fuel up on good foods is to provide healthy options for every meal and snack. When they fill up on nutritious foods, kids have less room for unhealthy options.
Children consume extra, empty calories when they eat fast food. Instead of hitting the drive-through, try these fast, at-home meal ideas.
Stock your kitchen with these timesaving, kid-pleasing options to make snack time a snap:
Remember, when parents are positive role models, they help shape kids’ behavior and put them on a path to well-being. Kids learn by watching parents make healthy choices.
Originally published 9/17/2015; Revised 2017, 2021, 2023
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