20 Oct 2013

When good eating and exercise habits are formed at home, they can last a lifetime. Use these techniques to teach your children the importance of staying active and eating nutritious (and great-tasting!) food.

Good foods in; bad foods out.
Start simple. When kids are young, you have the advantage because they eat at least half their meals at home. If you stock your cupboards and fridge with nutritious foods and toss out the junk, then your whole family will be eating the same healthy foods. Shop for fat-free or reduced-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, and cheese) and lean protein sources (skinless poultry, fish, turkey sausage and bacon, and so on), and have vegetables and fruit available at all times.
Eat dinner as a family — and slim down favorite meals.
Sitting down to regular meals as a family is a great way to connect with one another and offers the opportunity to instill proper eating habits in your children at an early age. I find that family dinners are the best occasions for kids to explore new foods — something they may not be inclined to do at a friend’s house or at a restaurant. Learn to make leaner versions of your kids’ favorites — like tacos with ground turkey, pizza with toasted whole-wheat pita bread and reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, baked sweet potato fries, and “unfried” chicken fingers. Pick five of your family’s standards and master a healthier, tasty version of each.
Minimize snacking.
Constant snacking throughout the day can set kids up for weight gain and leave them uninterested in eating when it’s time to sit down for lunch or dinner. And if they’re less hungry, they’ll be less willing to try new foods — like vegetables! As a parent, it’s important to set snacking guidelines: Try to stick to a consistent meal and snack schedule, spacing snacks and meals at least two hours apart, allowing no more than two or three snacks a day, and limiting them to about 150 calories apiece. Apple slices with peanut butter, low-fat yogurt with strawberries, air-popped popcorn, baby carrots and red pepper sticks with low-fat dip, and homemade trail mix made with whole grain cereal, nuts, and dried fruit are all great options.
Make the TV room a no eating zone.
Excessive TV watching leads to inactivity and mindless munching. So make the TV room a “no-eating zone,” and get the television sets out of your kids’ bedrooms. Turn off the tube during mealtimes, and try your best to limit overall TV watching to no more than two hours a day (this includes non-academic computer activity and video games as well). Your children will be more active and well-rounded as a result.
Get moving as a family.
Not only does physical activity help with weight management, but it can boost self-esteem and encourage family bonding. Kids, especially those struggling with their weight, like the acceptance they feel as part of a team. Plan hikes, go for family bike rides, toss a ball around in the backyard, join exercise classes together, follow along with exercise videos — anything goes! Take turns choosing activities; in no time at all, the whole family will look forward to enjoying these fit, fun outings.
Article comes from: http://www.joybauer.com/photo-gallery/happy-healthy-family.aspx

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