Establishing Healthy Habits In Your Kids: 5 Tips

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With an obese or overweight population of 66% percent of adults in the U.S., 60% in the U.K., and 59% in Canada, healthy eating is becoming more important than ever. But it's also becoming more and more rare. Parents with less-than-stellar eating habits pass those habits onto their kids, creating a vicious cycle that will follow their children right on into adulthood.

Sound a little scary? It is. Teaching your kids healthy eating habits is one of the most important things you can do for them as a parent. But while there's no miracle tip that will make the difference between healthy children and obese or overweight children, there are some things you can do to instill healthier eating habits in your kids. Read on for five simple ways to encourage a healthier diet.

1. Start the day with breakfast. Most parents and children claim that breakfast is part of their everyday routines. But for many more than you might think, it's not. Up to 40% of kids don't eat breakfast in the morning-- which is the worst possible way to start off the day. Children who eat breakfast have higher math grades, have improved reading scores, pay more attention, and basically perform better in school. They also tend to have healthier bodies in general, with better-controlled weight levels and lower cholesterol.

2. Introduce healthy snacks. What you have in your home is what your children will eat. When you take them to the grocery store with you, it's doubtless that your children will request the most sugar-filled, fat-injected products on the shelf. But these are not the ones to have in your home-- and if possible, you should avoid purchasing them at all. Instead of packaged chips, cookies, and other unhealthy snacks, be sure your kids have
available to them items like:

- Cups of unsweetened applesauce (or other fruit puree)
- Whole-grain cereal mixes (like Chex Mix)
- Sliced or sectioned fruit, or whole pieces
- Low-fat yogurts or drinkable yogurt
- Granola or granola bars
- Dried, unsweetened fruits and nuts
- Low-fat cheese pieces, such as mozzarella sticks
- Vegetable sticks and dip
- 100% real fruit juice
- Water

Almost as important as providing only healthy options for snacks at home? Demanding that your child's school does the same. If unhealthy options are offered in the school's vending machines, it's too tempting for kids to partake.

3. Banish the white stuff. Yes, kids like white bread. But any kid can get used to the taste and texture of whole grains... it just takes a little practice. Starting too late to get your kids to like whole wheat bread? Look for fortified white bread, and add other whole grains into their diet, such as:

- Oatmeal
- Whole wheat pasta
- Brown rice
- Whole grain cereal

Still can't get your kids to get excited about whole wheat bread? Start toasting their sandwiches. When it's toasted, it'll be that much harder for them to tell the difference in taste and texture. As a bonus, toasted bread takes longer to chew and eat than untoasted, making meals last longer and seem more satisfying.

4. Encourage exercise. It's simple, it's true, and it's something you already know: kids who get plenty of exercise are healthier kids. Set limits on the amount of time your child may spend in front of the television or computer screen. Sign them up for plenty of sports and outdoor activities. And best of all, get involved in sports and exercise with them. Bragged on your internet dating profile about being a gold-medal swimmer in high school? Take your kids down to the pool and get them swimming, too.

5. Lead by example. This is the last tip in this article, but it's certainly not the least. One of the best things you can do to instill healthy eating habits in your kids is to have them yourself. When your children see you reaching for an apple instead of a bag of chips, their tendency will be to do the same. Involve your kids in shopping for and cooking food. This will give you the chance to teach your kids about healthy choices and why they should make them. In short, you can tell your kids every day to eat healthy foods... but if you don't do the same thing yourself, the lesson will never stick.

About the Author:

Lavell foster is a freelance Writer,Finance Consultsnt and a Counselor.You can reach him at

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