Kids in the U.S. eat several snacks a day, in addition to regular meals. It's no wonder, then, that there's so much childhood obesity.
According to a new study, U.S. children snack "so often that they are moving toward constant eating." The report says kids are now snacking as much as three times a day, with more than 27 percent of children's daily calories coming from sugary and salty snacks. Wow.
Just think about it: At your kids' soccer games and birthday parties -- and even just around the house -- don't you see unhealthy snacks everywhere? Soda, chips, ice cream, other sugary foods .... One mom in our office asked, "Do kids even really need snacks for a 30-minute soccer game?"
1. Apply the same rules to everyone in the house, not just the child or teen who is struggling with weight. Make sure everyone has the same amount of TV and exercise time, and that everyone eats similar foods. Make this a family pact so as not to alienate your overweight child.
2. Create activity times with Mom and Dad. One day a week, Dad takes the kids out for a physical activity; another day, Mom does. Kids don't want to be fat, but oftentimes, they're too young to join a gym. Demonstrate the importance of physical activity by joining in.
3. Remove soda and junk food from the household. Create a healthy family environment for everyone.
4. Limit fast food, takeout and eating out. Prepare foods at home as a family. Eat a diet rich in calcium and fiber, and limit the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
5. Make healthy choices for snacking such as fruits,vegetables, low-fat milk, smoothies, cheese, yogurt, frozen fruit bars and whole grain crackers.
|Dr. Cara Natterson, a graduate of Harvard University and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and author of "Your Toddler: Head To Toe," is a pediatrician and mother of two. She is working on her forthcoming book, "Dangerous or Safe?"|