With 1 in 5 children affected by obesity, it’s important to teach children healthy choices from an early age. Yet some common habits may unknowingly lead to unhealthy behaviors in children.
Check these habits in your own family and learn how to encourage healthy choices.
1. Feeding children whenever they say they are hungry.
Even young children can have a tough time distinguishing between hunger and a craving or boredom. Establish a schedule of three mealtimes a day and one planned snack (or two snacks for preschool-aged children). During meals, help children practice mindful eating and learn to recognize hunger and satiety cues.
2. Reaching for snacks on the go.
Rather than automatically offering a snack every time you hop in the car, try to offer food only during normal snack times. Food should be used to nourish – not to pacify or reward. Be mindful that a snack-size portion is smaller than a meal portion, and provide nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, string cheese, and popcorn.
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