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Avoiding Childhood Obesity: Meal and Snack Tips

To avoid the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, it’s important to look at what your kids should eat rather than what they shouldn’t. 

Kids don’t do well with deprivation, and neither do adults! Implementing a positive meal plan is a good way to keep kids fit and healthy – but how? Here are some meal and snack tips for avoiding childhood obesity.

About Snacking…

Many parents assume that the old dieting adage “no snacking between meals” applies to kids. Research has shown that old advice doesn’t even really apply to adults, let alone kids! 

While cutting overall calories is a good idea, cutting out snacks and only eating at mealtimes can cause dips in blood sugar and may encourage overeating at mealtime. 

So snacking is a good thing – as long as it’s healthy. If you want to get a handle on your kid’s weight, schedule in snacks instead of waiting until your child begs for one. Here are some examples of healthy snacks for kids.

  • Frozen berries, grapes, and strawberries
  • Fresh fruit and nut butter
  • Smoothies
  • Mini veggie pizzas (homemade on whole grain bread or crust)
  • Vegetable crudités and low-fat dip (you can whip up an easy dip with fat-free Greek yogurt, powdered Italian dressing, and a little vegetable or tomato juice)
  • Whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese
  • Plain, low-fat yogurt with a little raw honey
  • Fruit and plain yogurt
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Nuts and seeds

Notice that there are no chips or sweets on the snack list. Cookies and milk no longer make the grade!

Don’t Nag

Experts warn you certainly don’t want to give your child a complex about their weight or encourage an eating disorder. Go easy on the issue verbally while taking decisive action. 

Join In 

If the entire family takes part in the new healthy eating trends you’re implementing for your child, it may make it a lot easier to transition. If everyone takes part, it will increase the health of everyone in the family and help the child who needs to lose/not gain weight feel supported.

Food as a Reward

Experts agree that using food as a reward for kids is not a good idea. They also point out that using food as a punishment is not a good idea, either. It’s said that children who are given food as a reward (especially “bad” foods like sweets and fast food) will seek such food as adults when they need to feel positive. This can start a pattern of obesity that may last for the child’s whole life. 

Plan Meals

Planning meals and cooking at home may mean a lot less spontaneous fast-food drive-through moments. It also helps prevent moments of desperation when you have to give the kids something for dinner, and all you have is junk food. 

Avoiding Childhood Obesity: Meal and Snack Tips

Avoiding Childhood Obesity: Meal and Snack Tips

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