Tips for Healthy Lifestyle
1. Focus on one positive change together. Trying to make too many changes at once sets you and your child up for failure.
2. Keep healthy food in the house. It is difficult to eat properly if the right foods are not readily available. Keep the junk food out of the house. Buy skim milk instead of whole milk and pretzels instead of chips.
3. Eat without distractions. Turn off the television during mealtime. Enjoy meals together without homework or reading materials. Look at healthy eating as a way to take care of your body and mind.
4. Allow your child to make food choices. By enforcing rigid guidelines, a parent alters a child's internal sense of hunger and satiety. By providing options, a child learns to make positive choices consistently.
5. Be aware of calories in beverages. An 8-ounce glass of apple juice is made from three apples. Few people could eat three apples at a sitting, but a thirsty child could drink two or three glasses of apple juice and still eat a full meal.
6. Control portion size. Limit the number of snacks and provide individual serving packages or put a serving in a bowl. Giving a child a large bag of chips and expecting him to stop after a few is unreasonable.
7. Give positive, accurate feedback. Be sure your child understands that you are supportive of efforts to change bad habits. A comment such as "I noticed you chose an apple as a snack after school today. Good for you!" encourages healthy choices next time.
8. Limit "screen time." Aside from homework, keep game system, television and computer time to a maximum of one hour per day. This is sedentary time that could be used in activities that burn calories.
9. Enjoy life! Playing in the sprinkler, leaves and snow burns calories and develops healthy relationships within families.
10. Consider your child's feelings. While keeping in mind that your long-term goal is to teach your child healthy eating habits, don't lose sight of the wonderful person you're trying to help. Treat him lovingly. Keep him happy. Let him enjoy the things that children enjoy.