How to Prevent Children From Taking Too Much Junk Food
Teaching your children about healthy eating is important so they have a good relationship with food. Children who eat too much of the wrong types of foods are at higher risk for health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. With all the ads for junk food on television and the prevalence of these foods, it can be hard to keep your child eating healthily. However, there are strategies you can employ to help you achieve this goal.
Keep Healthy Snacks Handy
Serve your child mainly healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables or whole-grain crackers and cheese. Keep healthy snacks available by placing them on low shelves in the fridge or in the cabinets so your children can reach them when hungry. Keep a bowl of fruit out so children can help themselves, since they are more likely to eat foods that are visible.
Don't Have Junk Food at Home
If you don't want your child to eat a particular food, keep it out of the house. She can't eat foods that aren't there. Make less healthy foods something you eat occasionally when you are away from home. This will limit the amount of junk food your child can eat.
Don't use junk food as a bargaining tool. Rewarding children with junk food or using it to bribe children to get them to eat healthier foods only makes this food more appealing and healthier foods less appealing, so choose non-food rewards. Children need to be able to choose how much they eat, as insisting they clean their plates can lead to overeating later in life, especially with the large portions common these days.
Don't Ban Junk Food
While you probably don't want your child to eat a lot of junk food, you shouldn't ban it completely. This just makes it more attractive and more likely your child will overindulge when he gets an opportunity to eat these foods at a friend's house, a birthday party or school. Teach moderation and permit your children to eat small amounts of these foods from time to time, perhaps allowing them to eat them at a friend's house or a birthday party, but not at home.
Children learn by watching what you do. If you don't want your child to eat too much junk food, model healthy eating and avoid eating a lot of junk food yourself. Allow children to help pick out new, healthy foods for snacks.
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