Childhood obesity has become a serious health problem in the U.S. The problems associated with obesity can lead to even more serious health problems later in life.
However, there are things parents can do to teach healthy eating habits to their children when they are young so that they can maintain a healthy weight as a child and as an adult and also learn healthy eating habits for life.
It is always a good idea to eat a diet that is low in fat. One good way to do this is to eat dairy foods that are low fat or non-fat, eating skinless poultry, lean meats and low fat cereals and breads.
A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetable will also make sure that a child is receiving all the vitamins and nutrients that they need.
If a parent is unsure of how to eat a healthy diet, they should talk to their doctor or pediatrician and meet with a nutritionist to learn about healthy eating.
It makes sense to let children make their own food choices, but the key is to provide a wide variety of healthy food choices in your home for them to choose from.
Let them help with the shopping and teach them about healthy eating while in the grocery store and teach them to make good food choices.
Involve the children in the food preparation.
Teach them about proper portion sizes, and how to read the food labels on the different items.
Incorporate the food pyramid into your daily life.
Meals should be eaten as a family, at the table and away from the TV.
Everyone should eat slowly, and a meal should be a pleasant time that everyone can share their thoughts and make conversation.
Don't use food as a reward or as a punishment, because children should not associate food with either one.
Plan healthy snack times, and have tasty, healthy snacks available. Encourage children to drink water instead of juice or soda pop (both have sugar and sodas are worse than juice).
It is always good to allow them to have chips, cookies or candies as "sometimes foods" which are eaten in moderation.
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