Almost one in two children in the U.S. is either overweight or obese, according to Iowa State University statistics. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help your kids develop healthy eating habits:
Remove temptation. Keep very few high-fat, high-calorie snack foods in the house. Instead, stock up on healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts, carrots and air-popped popcorn. Keep these snacks readily available and save cookies and other treats for special occasions.
Don’t use food as a reward. Doing this teaches children that some foods are better or more valuable than others. It can also help set up an unhealthy relationship with food.
Teach kids to identify hunger. Much of our eating these days is in response to “emotional” hunger such as stress, anxiety, boredom or loneliness, rather than physical hunger. Help your child recognize “hunger cues” and “non-hunger cues” by asking if he or she is really hungry before automatically providing a snack. Sometimes reading a book, playing outside or doing some other activity is a better alternative than turning to snacks.