The rate of obesity has doubled for preschoolers and adolescents and more than tripled over the past ten years. It does not help when healthy foods are more expensive than fast food and foods that can be considered unhealthy. With unhealthy choices, comes issues with health for children and adults who are overweight sich as diabetes and heart disease. What can I do to help my family make better eating choices while at home and eating out?
You should consult your child’s pediatrician, your family doctor or registered dietitian to understand the healthiest weight goals for the whole family, once you have done so take immediate actions and make the necessary changes it takes to get healthier. To eat healthier, you should:
- Eat at least one meal together each day, at regular times.
- Discourage snacking in between meals unless it is a healthy snack.
- Make healthy foods and snacks for the whole family.
- Don’t use food as a reward, comfort or punishment.
- Watch portions.
- Eat slowly, as it can take almost 20 minutes for the brain to register that the body is full.
- Drink water or skim or 1% milk instead of high-calorie, sugary drinks.
- Give kids at least five servings of vegetables and fruits each day.
- Use low-fat or fat-free dressings, mayonnaise, and dairy items at home as if they are the full-fat versions. Kids will take your cues.
- Ask for the same side items when eating out at restaurants.
- Take the stairs. Go the distance. When you’re out shopping, park the car further away from the store and walk.
- Limit television, video games or computer time.
- Replace mayonnaise and cheese on burgers or sandwiches with a healthier substitute.
- Eat baked, broiled, steamed and not fried foods. Don’t be afraid to ask for nutritional information when eating out. Look beyond the children’s menu, which can often restrict to fried, high calorie, high-fat foods. Split one healthier adult entrée between two kids.
- Request that the server gives any appetizers with your meal instead of having them before.
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