It's true: Our children's eating habits start at home, so it us up to us parents to teach them how and what to eat. Dr. Aguila offers six easy tips to get us started.
First and foremost, remember that children will imitate their parent's habits, so you are their main example.
Don't depend on the school to teach your children good eating habits -- these habits begin at home.
Don't reward your children with food or give them treats when they are sad. This creates an association of food with emotion, which can lead to obesity.
Do include your children in preparing a healthy meal. Children love to do this. It allows you to bond with them and to teach them good eating habits.
Teach your children that they do not have to "clean the plate." Teach them how to recognize hunger and eat when they are hungry -- and that they need to stop eating when they feel satisfied.
Take your children grocery shopping with you and allow them to help you plan your meals. When you empower them in this way, they make surprisingly wise choices.
In addition to teaching your kids how to eat healthfully, Dr. Aguila stresses the importance of daily exercise. He says, "Don't forget to take your kids outside and play with them even for 15 minutes. They need activity and so do you." Another key is to praise your kids often and avoid rewarding their accomplishments with food. "Kids will eat a Happy Meal in 20 minutes and play with toy for about an hour," the doctor explains. "But the praise that you give them for something that they did will last them a lifetime!"
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