Stock your home with healthy foods. If you don’t bring in foods that are high in fats, salt and calories, your child is far less likely to eat them. Do buy fruits, veggies, fish, low-fat dairy products and whole grains. Don’t buy soda, fatty meats, pastries and other sweets.
Limit TV time. Watching television is a sedentary activity. Also, many kids automatically turn to snacks in front of the tube.
Avoid snacks that contain highly processed carbohydrates, such as packaged baked goods and 100-calorie packs of goldfish. Highly processed carbohydrates are digested quickly, which means kids are hungry again only a few hours later. Substitute less processed snacks, such as a whole-grain cracker spread with peanut butter.
Shop for groceries with your kids, starting around age 10. Teach children to read the nutritional content labels on packages and compare products. Which should we buy, the ice cream or the non-fat frozen yogurt? Broccoli with cheese sauce or without?
Make sure kids get lots of sleep. Establish a regular bedtime. To avoid stimulation after lights out, don’t allow children to keep TVs, computers, video games or cellphones in their rooms.
Walk the walk. To encourage kids to exercise regularly, make it a family activity. Ride bikes together. Put on an aerobics video and work out together. Take a walk after dinner. Hike on the weekend.
Be supportive, upbeat and positive. Never criticize a child for being overweight. Be generous with praise. But instead of complimenting kids on losing weight, focus on their behaviors, such as suggesting ingredients for the salad, walking two miles or getting to bed on time every night for a week.