5 Things I Tell My Kids About Healthy Eating, Plus 1 Thing I Never Say

5 Things I Tell My Kids About Healthy Eating, Plus 1 Thing I Never Say

Raising kids who are healthy eaters takes more than just feeding them healthy foods—it’s an ongoing conversation about healthy eating and healthy habits.

Here are some things I tell my kids about healthy eating practically every week, plus one that I’m always mum about.

#1. “Watch your portions.”

Teaching kids about portion sizes isn’t a lesson most parents teach their kids but it’s a really important one.

In the U.S., portion sizes are double—even triple what they should be. Whether you’re picking up a coffee at Starbucks or eating out, we come to expect large portions. Inflated portion sizes are also one of the reasons we’re facing an obesity epidemic.

Although my kids are allowed to have seconds at dinner, I often talk to them about portion sizes. Whether it’s a serving of beans, fruit, or cookies, my kids often ask, “is this enough?”

Most of the time, it’s too much but I use it as an opportunity to teach them what a healthy portion size looks like. Sometimes I’ll have them dish out a snack in a measuring bowl or I’ll explain that an ounce of raisins is the size of their palm, for example.

When kids learn how to read and can understand basic math, you can teach them how to read food labels and see how many servings are in a container and what an actual serving size is.

#2. “Green leafy vegetables are great.”

When my kids ask about healthy vegetables, I tell them they should eat the rainbow but green leafy vegetables should make up a majority of their diet.

Although vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, and squash are healthy, green leafy vegetables like broccoli, salad greens, and asparagus are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and one of the best super foods that should be included in your kid’s diet.

#3. “You need protein.”

Oatmeal for breakfast can be a healthy option, but without some protein, I know my kids won’t have the energy to go all morning.

I do my best to make sure my kids get protein at every meal and snack—whether it’s yogurt, eggs or sunflower seeds. Protein is important for all of the cells in their bodies, helps to keep them satiated and is vital for their growth and development.

#4. “There are no ‘bad’ foods.”

My kids often ask me about specific foods and whether they’re healthy or not but I try to explain that food isn’t ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Although refined, white pasta isn’t something they eat regularly and not a food I’d consider healthy for example, I never call it unhealthy.

Labeling foods can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food later on in life. Just think about how many people you know who eliminate whole food groups because they think they’re “bad.”

The lesson I try to teach my kids is that fresh, whole, and healthy foods should make their way onto their plates a majority of the time, and nothing is off-limits.

#5. “Sure, you can have a treat.”

I don’t carry candy in my bag or keep the pantry stocked with junk food, but my kids know treats are OK to eat and balance is key. Although I’d love to control and keep tabs on everything they eat, I have learned that if I’m too restrictive, they’ll overindulge at other times. I also recognize that I can’t prevent them from being kids, especially when they’re with other kids for special occasions–not at school.

Since my kids eat healthy 90 percent of the time, they know when they’ve overindulged on treats on the weekends or at parties, so I don’t necessarily have to point it out. Besides, raising a child who is a healthy eater means helping them learn how to eat healthy while also having the freedom to enjoy treats.

The One Word I Never Speak To My Kids

“You Could Gain Weight”

Children pick up on everything we say and do, and “weight” is one thing I don’t talk to my kids about.

As a child myself, I can remember thinking about my weight a lot, whether it was because of models in magazines or my mom—like most moms—who were on diets.

Don’t get me wrong—when I’m talking to my kids about how much they’re eating, I’ve nearly blurted out the W word. I know that if I ever do say it, it could do lasting damage to the perception of themselves and their self-esteem, and stick with them throughout their lives. So instead of talking about weight, I always focus on their health.

9 Things To Do When Your Child Eats Too Much  These strategies can help you cope when your child overeats, whether he's overweight or not.

9 Things To Do When Your Child Eats Too Much

These strategies can help you cope when your child overeats, whether he's overweight or not.

I’ll be the first to admit my kids overeat. Although it’s mostly healthy foods like plenty of fruits, vegetables and beans, they constantly ask for seconds or something else.

I do my best to have ongoing conversations with them about portion control, how to listen to their hunger cues and eating when they’re hungry instead of when they’re bored, but it’s still a challenge.

If your child eats too much too, it’s something you’ll want to keep tabs on whether or not they’re overweight. Teaching kids healthy eating habits early on can reduce the risk for weight-related health conditions like high cholesterol and type-2 diabetes, help them have a healthy relationship with food and avoid becoming an emotional eater.

Here are some ideas to cope when you child eats too much.

1. Ask yourself, “are my kids really hungry?”

This can be a tough one because you can’t really know for sure how your child is feeling and whether he’s hungry or not, but there are some things to consider.

For starters, if your kid eats balanced meals: those that include protein, fiber and healthy fats, they should satisfy his hunger. If the meals aren’t nutritious however, (i.e. white pasta with butter), your child might be very well be hungry because he’s not getting what his body and brain need.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, younger kids like preschoolers need to eat 3 meals a day and at least two snacks, while older kids need three meals and at least one snack a day. Check out ChooseMyPlate.gov, which has meal and snack pattern recommendations for kids by age and caloric needs.

2. Cut the junk food

If your child eats foods with refined, white flour and those with simple carbohydrates like processed, packaged foods, she may be asking for snacks all the time. These foods spike your child’s blood sugar and can make her crave even more.

3. Make sleep priority

One of the reasons kids eat too much has to do with a lack of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2014 Sleep in America poll, many kids don’t get enough sleep and some get less than their parents think they need.

When kids are sleep-deprived, the hormones that affect appetite can get all out of whack. Ghrelin, “the hunger hormone” which tells our bodies to eat, ramps up while leptin, a hormone that decreases appetite, slows down, making it more likely that your kid will overeat.

4. Help your child cope with tough emotions

If your child ate a meal an hour ago and asks for a snack, chances are he’s bored, irritable or tired. If you think that’s the case, address the need. Find something else to do like going for a walk or a bike ride, taking a few minutes for some deep breathing or to read a book, or simply offer a hug.

5. Keep kids hydrated

Since thirst can often be mistaken for hunger especially during the summer months, make sure your child is drinking water regularly to stay hydrated.

6. Take a step back

Just as we as adults can have days where our appetites seem to be in overdrive such after a tough workout or because of hormones, take into account the reasons your child may be eating too much. If she plays sports, is an active child or is going through a growth spurt, she may be legitimately hungry.

7. Set boundaries

I don’t recommend labeling foods “good” or “bad” but if your child eats too much, setting up boundaries is one of the healthy eating habits kids should take with them throughout their lives.

Instead of allowing kids to graze all day, do your best to have structured meal and snack times and consider “closing” the kitchen after dinner, for example.

8. Prepare for parties

Holidays, parties and special events are times when we all tend to indulge and overeat, and our children are no exception. Although kids should have opportunities to try new foods and enjoy them, they can also eat too much, they get sick.

Before you leave for a party, make sure your kid has a snack that includes protein and fiber like carrot sticks with hummus or plain Greek yogurt with raspberries to help satiate his hunger and prevent him from overeating at the event.

9. Make room for treats

If you’re overly restrictive and don’t allow your child to have any sweets or desserts, it could backfire. Kids can sneak food or overindulge when they’re with their friends or away from home.

The key is striking a balance: make sure your child is eating healthy foods at least 80 percent of the time and the other 20 can be designated for treats. How often your child is allowed to eat treats is up to you: maybe it’s once a day, a few times a week or only on the weekends.

How To Teach Kids Portion Control

How To Teach Kids Portion Control

When you think about dieting and losing weight, portion control often comes to mind. To cut calories, you pay attention to—and cut down—on your portion sizes.

When it comes to teaching kids portion control however, it’s something we don’t usually pay attention to. Although allowing kids to eat foods that are high in calories, sugar and saturated fat like fast food and processed, packaged food is one of the reasons childhood obesity is still on the rise in the U.S., too large portion sizes also play a role.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), portion sizes have doubled, even tripled, over the past 20 years. Large restaurant meals, super-sized fast food and jumbo-sized snacks are available and they’re everywhere. If we eat large portions when we’re out, it’s not surprising that we often eat that way at home too.

I’ll admit it—my kids eat healthy but portion control is something I have been struggling with for years. When they ask for seconds or a large piece of fruit instead of a 1/2 cup serving, I allow them to have it. I don’t want food to be an issue but it’s something that’s always on my mind. The eating habits we teach our kids will set the stage for their relationship with food throughout their lives. Here, read on for some things that have helped me teach my kids portion control and may help you too.

Read Nutrition Facts Labels Together

When your kids can recognize numbers, they’re old enough to scan the nutrition facts labels with you. Show them the serving size and the “servings per container” so they know how many servings are available and how many they should be eating at one time.

Look at the nutrition facts labels on packaged snacks and you’ll be surprised that most contain double—even triple—the single serving your kids should really be eating. It can be deceiving but it’s also a way to teach kids that although it’s tasty enough to eat the entire package, they’ll need to save additional servings for another time.

Use Measuring Cups

When serving meals, use measuring cups or measuring bowls to show kids what an appropriate portion size is for each food. If you let them serve themselves, they’ll also feel empowered to make their own healthy choices.

Get a To-Go Container

When I was trying to lose weight and I went out to dinner, I’d ask the server to bring a to-go container with my meal. Then I divided the meal in half or in thirds and put the rest aside so I wouldn’t eat too much. This trick can work well for your kids too. Whether you order off the kids’ menu, which I don’t recommend, or the main menu, serving the appropriate amount and setting the extra aside will teach kids portion control.

Visualize Portion Sizes

The MyPlate serving sizes can help you figure out how many calories and how many servings of the different food groups your kids should eat each day. Yet sometimes it can be tough to know what the appropriate servings of meat or grains are, for example.

You can help your kids understand portion sizes by visualizing them with your hands or a common object. For example, 3-ounces of turkey is the size of a deck of cards, a serving of nuts is the size of your kid’s palm, while one serving of fruit like an apple is the size of a tennis ball.

Use Kid-Size Plates

Serving kids meals on large dinner plates can cause them to eat more. In fact, when kids were given adult-sized dishes, they served themselves more food and ate 50 percent of calories they dished out, a 2013 study in the journal Pediatrics found.

Instead of serving your kid’s meals on the same size plate you use, always serve their meals on a kid-sized plate or an appetizer plate. Or purchase the MyPlate Divided Kids Plate which makes portion sizes easy.

Plan and Pre-Pack

For trips to the park, play dates or school snacks, spend some time to pre-sort individual portions of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and other healthy snacks. Keeping these on hand in your refrigerator or pantry will ensure your kids won’t overeat when they’re at home too.

Let Them Help

Encouraging your kids to watch or help you plate meals will teach them about portion control. They can scoop out portions of vegetables or slice cooked sweet potatoes, for example.

Teach Them Hunger and Fullness Cues

 

One of the reasons kids and adults are overweight is because in our rushed society, we often fail to eat mindfully. At school, kids don’t have a lot of time to eat and adults often eat in front of their computers, in the car or on the run.

When kids become attuned to how they feel when they’re a little hungry, very hungry, not hungry and full, they’ll be able to regulate how much they eat. Kids often want to eat when they’re bored, upset or tired but this is an unhealthy habit that can carry over into adulthood.

 

Have regular conversations with your kids about what it feels like to be hungry: “your stomach growls,” or what it feels like to be overly full: “your stomach feels uncomfortable.” As they get older, they’ll be able to listen to their hunger and fullness cues and pay attention to their portions.

Why Juice For Kids Isn’t Healthy  Although juice for kids can be a good source of nutrition for those who don't have access to fresh fruit, most kids don't need it and shouldn't be drinking it--here's why.

Why Juice For Kids Isn’t Healthy

Although juice for kids can be a good source of nutrition for those who don't have access to fresh fruit, most kids don't need it and shouldn't be drinking it--here's why.

Like milk, juice for kids is synonymous with childhood. We pack juice boxes for preschool, serve juice at birthday parties and some kids drink juice at every meal, all day, every day.

Juice seems like something your kids should drink. It’s made with fruit, so it must be healthy, right?

Juice does have some vitamins and minerals, but there are so many reasons why juice for kids isn’t healthy and kids shouldn’t drink it.

Why Kids Don’t Need Juice

If your kids are picky eaters, you probably worry about their diets and if they’re getting enough nutrients.

Depending on what they eat or don’t eat, it’s possible they could have some nutritional deficiencies. Yet if they eat fruit they’re probably getting the same vitamins and minerals that juice has and much more.

The recommended amount of fruit children should consume each day varies between 1 and 2 cups depending on a child’s age and gender. You can find specifics on ChooseMyPlate.gov. If you continue to offer a variety of fresh fruits and at every meal and snack, your kids will ask for fruit and hitting those targets isn’t all that difficult.

For kids who don’t have access to fresh fruit, such as those that live in food deserts, for example, juice can be a way to help them get servings of fruit. Some types of juices are a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, potassium and magnesium and some brands of juice may also be fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Juice Is High In Sugar

Sugar seems wholesome but read the labels and you’ll be amazed at how high the sugar content is. A 3.5 ounce cup of apple juice—about one serving for kids—has 9 grams of sugar. It’s sugar that kids who are likely getting sugar from other sources like yogurt and cereal don’t need.

The American Heart Association says kids under 2 shouldn’t consumer any sugar and those between 2 and 12 should consume no more than 25 grams—or 6 teaspoons worth of added sugar a day.

But if you look at most juice boxes, they contain “fruit juice from concentrate” which is actually added sugar. And even if the label says 100 percent fruit juice, it can still be made with fruit juice from concentrate.

Yet it doesn’t matter whether it’s natural sugar like fructose from fruit or added sugar. All sugar is the same and our bodies don’t know the difference. “Though natural sugar may seem harmless, your body does little to distinguish between the sugars in an apple versus those in a piece of candy,” Scott Kahan, the director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C. told Time.com.

Since more fruit is needed to make fruit juice, there’s more calories, sugar and carbohydrates in juice than there is in whole fruit. Juice also strips fruit of its fiber, not a good thing for kids who don’t eat enough fiber to begin with.

Of course, allow your kids to drink juice regularly and chances are they’ll only want juice, sugary drinks and sweet foods.

Although a recent study found 100 percent fruit juice doesn’t spike blood sugar, experts raise important concerns and question the credibility of the study which, by the way, was funded by the Juice Products Association.

If the American Diabetes Association (ADA) says people with type-2 diabetes should limit juice consumption, then it’s fair to say for kids who are already overweight or have a family history of type-2 diabetes, drinking juice isn’t going to help their risk for developing the condition.

Drinking too much juice can also lead to cavities, weight gain or diarrhea in babies and toddlers.

When Can Kids Drink Juice?

In May 2017, the AAP issued new guidelines for fruit juice in kids’ diets. While the previous guidelines were 6 months of age, the AAP now says kids under age 1 shouldn’t drink juice.

For toddlers between 1 and 3, they say juice should be limited to 4 ounces a day; children ages 4-6 should have no more than 4 to 6 ounces; and children ages 7-18 should limit juice to 8 ounces.

Is Homemade Juicing Good For Kids?

Making your own juices at home is a great way to get in a bunch of vegetables and fruits into your kid’s diet.

While juice shouldn’t replace whole fruits and vegetables or be a way to sneak them into the diet, offering your kid fresh, homemade juices can give him a boost of nutrition and fill in some gaps.

When making homemade juices, follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent vegetables and 20 percent juice.

Juice Rules

If you do serve your kids juice, don’t serve juice in a bottle, only a cup.

Homemade juicing is also a great opportunity to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables and teach kids how to make healthy juices.

Reserve store-bought juice as a treat: at a birthday party or during the holidays.

Do you give your kids juice? Do you make green juices at home? Let me know what you think in the comments section!

 

10 Ways To Help Your Overweight Child  If your child is overweight, diet and exercise are key but taking a family approach, making small, realistic changes and watching what you say can set up your child for success.

10 Ways To Help Your Overweight Child

If your child is overweight, diet and exercise are key but taking a family approach, making small, realistic changes and watching what you say can set up your child for success.

If your child is overweight, it’s normal to worry about his diet, if he’s getting enough exercise and the number on the scale.

As kids grow, their weight can fluctuate all the time which is why your first stop should always be your child’s pediatrician. With growth charts, your child’s doctor can track his height and weight trends over time, talk about his diet and activity level and give you some ideas to help him safely lose weight.

Yet the truth is that pediatricians get less than 24 hours worth of nutrition education. So you may also want to consider consulting with a pediatric nutritionist who can address all of the factors affecting your child’s weight and design a plan that will help your child safely lose weight.

Luckily, there are things you can do as a parent and as a family to help your overweight child too.

1. Talk about health, not weight

As a child, chances are someone made a comment about your weight or your appearance, whether you were thin or overweight, and it’s something you’ll never forget.

Overweight children are bullied by other kids, but parents and other adults in the community can be a source of bullying too, according to a November 2017 statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Words can stick so whether your child has gained a few pounds in his belly or it’s clear he’s overweight, it’s never a good idea to call attention to your child’s weight, even if you think it’s benign or a joke.

Rather than talk about how your child looks or how his clothes fit, for example, talk about health—for him and your entire family. Talk about how healthy foods give you energy and make you feel good, for example. Focus on healthy eating, exercise and being active as a family.

2. Don’t single out your child

Imposing food rules or new habits only for your overweight child will only make her feel worse about his weight.

Adding more vegetables and eliminating processed foods needs to be a lifestyle change for the entire family—not only for the child with the weight problem.

3. Make small changes

Not only is it not realistic to overhaul your family’s diet in one week but it could backfire. Your child may feel like he’s being punished or he may push back on too many changes at once.

To have the highest chances for success, make small changes like offering a new vegetable each week, swap chips for veggies or bean dip at snack time or build in 10 more minutes of activity into your child’s day.

4. Don’t label foods “good” or ‘bad”

Sure, some foods are healthier than others but talking about foods as good and bad can make kids (and you!) feel that they’re good or bad for eating them. If the latter, they’ll feel deprived if they can’t have those foods which will make them want them even more.

When you talk about foods, talk about making healthy choices and never make any food completely off limits.

5. Move more together

Signing up your overweight child for a gymnastics class or after-school sports are great ideas but if you want to instill healthy habits, the entire family has to make the commitment to be an active family.

Find ways to be active together such as taking a walk after dinner, playing a game of catch or going for a family bike ride or hike on the weekends. Look into fitness centers or gym like the YMCA that have active programs for adults and kids.

6. Limit screen time

I admit that putting limits on how much time my kids watch TV or use the iPad is tough especially during the winter months when it’s cold out.

Studies show however, too much screen time increases the risk for obesity. According to a December 2016 study in The Journal of Pediatrics, kids who used electronic devices five hours a day increases the risk for obesity by 43 percent.

To cut down on screen time, put on music and dance around the house or set up a challenge like a scavenger hunt or a circuit of exercises.

7. Get the entire family on board

Whether it’s your spouse, another sibling or family member, have a conversation about why it’s important to watch what you say when it comes to your child’s weight and why being encouraging will boost your child’s confidence and self-esteem.

8. Tackle emotional eating

If your kid is overweight but eats healthy, it may not be because his portion sizes are too small. Kids—like adults—can eat because they’re anxious, stressed, angry, sad or bored.

Talk to your kid about her tough emotions and try to identify a healthy outlet to express her feelings such as a journal, art or music.

If you think the problem is beyond your parenting abilities, seek the help of a therapist who works with kids.

9. Prioritize sleep

According to a 2014 survey by The National Sleep Foundation, kids aren’t getting enough sleep and lack of sleep is directly related to weight.

Sleep deprivation messes with the hormones that affect appetite. Ghrelin, “the hunger hormone” which tells our bodies to eat ramps up while leptin, a hormone that decreases appetite, slows down. Not to mention that lack of sleep can cause your kids to reach for high carb, salty or sweet fare.

Stick with a routine each night to make sure kids are getting enough sleep.

10. Model healthy habits

You can’t expect your kid to eat healthy, exercise and get active if you don’t.

Have regular conversations with your kid about how you feel good when you eat certain healthy foods, go to your boot camp class or get a full night’s sleep, for example. Also, find ways to be healthy together like cook a new recipe or particapate in a race.

 

Is your child overweight? What types of struggles do you face? What are some ways you help your child be healthy? Leave me a comment below!

10 Ways To Prevent Childhood Obesity

10 Ways To Prevent Childhood Obesity

We all know the staggering statistics: childhood obesity in the United States has more than doubled in the past 30 years and today, 30 percent of children are overweight or obese.

Perhaps even more alarming is that the epidemic is affecting kids at earlier ages than ever before. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 8.4 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds are obese.

Whether you’re pregnant, just had a baby or have a big kid, there are things you can do to prevent your kid from being overweight or obese, even if genetics aren’t on your side.

1. Pay attention to pregnancy weight gain

When I was pregnant with my first child, I gained too much weight because I didn’t pay attention to what I was eating and how much.

Not only can gaining too much weight during pregnancy increase your risk for things like high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, miscarriage, preterm birth, and birth defects, but studies show pregnancy weight gain is also linked to childhood obesity.

According to a recent study published in the journal Obesity, babies born to women who gained more than the recommended amount of weight before 24 weeks were 2.5 times more likely to be born large.

Of course, every pregnancy is different and sometimes you can’t control every last pound, but do your best to stay within the recommendations for pregnancy weight gain:

  • 25 to 35 pounds if you have a normal weight.
  • 15 to 25 pounds if you’re overweight.
  • 11 to 20 pounds if you’re overweight.  

 

2. Breastfeed

Breastfeeding has so many benefits and studies suggest it can even prevent childhood obesity.

In fact, babies who are breastfed have a 22 percent lower risk of childhood obesity than those who were never breastfed, a 2014 meta-analysis published in BMC Public Health found.

3. Don’t add cereal to your baby’s bottle

If you’re formula feeding, you may have heard adding rice cereal to your baby’s bottle before he starts eating solids is a good idea if he’s overly hungry or to help him sleep through the night.

Yet the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says this isn’t a good idea. Not only are babies not ready, but it may increase their risk for food allergies and cause them to take in too many calories.

Pediatricians however, may recommend the practice for babies with GERD, so you should always speak to your child’s doctor first.

4. Start with healthy solids

The best way to ensure your child will eat healthy, whole foods as he gets older and reduce his risk for childhood obesity, is to offer a variety of whole fruits and vegetables when he starts solids.

Consistency is key so if your baby shuns broccoli the first few times, stick with it. Chances are he’ll eventually learn to love it.

5. Eat whole-foods

It’s no surprise that fast food and processed, packaged foods are high in calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar which are all linked to childhood obesity.

Even if your kid is stick thin now, eating this way conditions his taste buds for this type of food and creates unhealthy habits that could continue throughout his lifetime.

Instead, do your best to have a diet made up mostly of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats which will give your kids the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow and fiber to keep them satiated and keep weight gain at a healthy pace.

6. Don’t bring junk food in the house

So many families I know buy crackers, chips and granola bars for their kids. It seems that we have a belief in the U.S. that kids should eat this way and there’s really nothing wrong with it.

But make no mistake: feed your kids this way now will increase their risk for weight gain. They’re also more likely to always eat this way throughout their lives.

Once you decide as a family that you’ll eat healthy and make changes, start today. This could be a huge shock to kids who have been eating this way for years so start small: nix one bag or box a week until you’ve entirely purged your pantry of junk.

7. Cut down on screen time

I’ll admit it: keeping my kids off the iPad is tough.

When I have to clean the house or make a phone call, it’s really easy to put them in front of the screen. Yet the more time kids spend on devices, the less time they’re spending moving.

To cut down on screen time, set a timer, restrict the devices to weekends-only or set limits on when and for how long they’re allowed to use them.

8. Get moving together

Kids should get 60 minutes of exercise everyday but many families find this hard to do especially if both parents work or if kids are in after-school activities that aren’t sports.

 Although it can be challenging to find the time, your kids won’t be motivated to be active if you’re not.

My kids know that my husband and I both work out at the gym several times a week and as a family we do our best to take walks after dinner, have an indoor “dance party” on rainy or snow days or play Twister.

9. Cut sugar

Kids love their treats but over-indulging in sugar in everything from candy, soda and juice, to yogurt and energy bars has been shown to increase the risk for childhood obesity.

Kids should eat less than 25 grams of added sugar a day so start reading labels and be choosy about what you’re buying. The most common types of foods that contain added sugars are soda, sports and energy drinks and sweetened teas.

10. Make it a family affair

You can spend all your time and energy cooking healthy meals and running your kids around to after-school sports, but if you’re not living a healthy lifestyle, your kids may feel less motivated to do so.

If you want to prevent your kids from being overweight, healthy has to be a family affair.

Instead of making drastic changes overnight however, make one small change each week.

Maybe that means serving vegetables instead of chips for after-school snacks, cooking a healthy meal together or going for a family bike ride.

The key is that the changes are realistic, manageable and consistent.