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I Want French Fries!

Por MyDiet™ -
I Want French Fries!

This scenario takes place at the mall’s food court, on the street, or in any random store; noisy little ones clamoring for hamburgers, french fries, or chocolates. Without listening to reason, they fall on the floor crying, until their parents, tired already, run to buy the “tempting” fast food combos. 

It may be time to put an end to easy solutions and start teaching children long-lasting, healthy eating habits. That said, this is not an easy task.  There are many obstacles to face such as fast food being much less expensive than fresh foods requiring preparation, or the fact that it's readily available without having to prepare or wait for it.

The increase in childhood and adolescent overweight and obesity, as indicated in data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates the need for and importance of teaching good eating habits beginning early in life to help prevent chronic diseases and other medical conditions in the future. According to the CDC, 15% of children in the United States do not eat vegetables; 40% only eat potatoes and sauces; 20% do not like fruits, and 36% have at least 4 unhealthy snacks daily. The result: an alarming increase in the early onset of overweight or obesity.

To help prevent children from becoming overweight or obese, and to keep them happy and healthy, the American Board of Pediatrics, together with the CDC, offers these easy-to-follow tips:

  • Make sure children are comfortable, peaceful, and in a pleasant atmosphere while eating.
  • Parents should practice what they preach, since they are role-models for their children. Children certainly won’t want to try something their parents don’t like. Remember children also learn by imitating the behaviors of those around them.
  • Allow children to follow their innate signals of hunger and satiety. By doing so, you will teach them to listen to their bodies’ needs. 
  • Avoid using food as a reward.
  • Be patient. Children may reject new or unknown foods at certain ages. There are two critical stages for presenting new foods to children: when foods are introduced during the first year of age and then at age three. Because it takes children various exposures to a food before it is fully accepted, be sure to repeatedly offer foods to your kids that they haven’t previously liked. 
  • A child's preference for sweet foods is totally normal. Allow kids to have sweets now and then. But also, try to balance that with healthy foods that are sweet, such as strawberries or bananas.
  • Limit your use of the salt shaker. Foods already have enough sodium naturally to fulfill the body’s needs.
  • Offer your kids a wide variety of foods, and try to provide them with at least 4 or 5 meals a day.

 

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