Thursday, June 19, 2008

10 Tips for Improving Your Family's Eating Habits

I got this off the American Dietetic Association website. If you have been on Weight Watchers for any length of time you know what you are doing has a healthy affect on those around you. Now that school is out you may be surrounded by kids for a good part of your day. Today is the day to improve the health of your whole household.

With today’s busy lifestyles, families don’t always eat as healthfully as we would like. But by practicing healthy eating habits at home, you can make it easier for your family to eat right. Try these 10 tips designed to encourage healthy eating habits:

  1. Be a good food role model. Telling children to eat nutritious foods is one thing — showing them is better. If you offer nutritious foods regularly — and if they see you eating them — your children likely will learn to like them.
  2. Serve a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. In addition to bananas and apples, try something new like kiwi or papaya. Add vegetables to stir fries or casseroles.
  3. Schedule a snack time and stick to it. Space snacks at least two to three hours before a meal.
  4. Involve kids in meal planning and preparation. Children often will eat foods they help plan and prepare. At the same time, your child can learn how to handle and prepare foods in a safe, healthful way.
  5. Keep less-healthful foods on a higher shelf where they won’t be noticed as much.
  6. Eat as a family. If possible eat together at least once a day. If it’s breakfast, set the table the night before for less effort in the morning.
  7. Don’t eat in front of the TV. Have your family eat around a table, not side by side at the counter. Better yet, eat outdoors when the weather permits.
  8. Encourage your family to try new foods. Trying new foods expands your food knowledge, experience and skills. Kids will like some, but not all of these foods. That’s OK.
  9. Let kids stop eating when they say they’re full. Encourage your child to eat slowly and pay attention to feeling full. By learning hunger and fullness cues, your child will learn to eat enough, but not overeat.
  10. Enjoy your food. Avoid fussing, nagging, arguing or complaining at the table. A stress-free meal that is neither rushed nor prolonged promotes family bonding and helps everyone enjoy what they’re eating.

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