What your children eat can profoundly affect their health as adults. Childhood is the time to teach them to make healthy choices. Kids model your actions much more than they follow your spoken advice, especially if they are teenagers. So use this opportunity to get the whole family exercising regularly and eating sensibly.

Here are some specific things you can do to help get your kids back on track:

  • Encourage exercise every day, for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Plan active family outings such as bicycling, walking, hiking and swimming.
  • Limit television, computer and video game time to one hour per day.
  • Switch to low-fat or non-fat milk and reduced-fat cheese and yogurts.
  • Drink water instead of soda or juice.
  • Limit fried and high-fat foods.
  • Eat at least five servings each day of fruits and vegetables.
  • Serve fruits and vegetables as snacks instead of cookies, chips or ice cream.
  • Avoid high-fat sauces, salad dressings and spreads (such as butter or mayonnaise).
  • Limit your family eats in restaurants. When eating out, choose lower-fat items, such as a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a burger, a salad instead of fries, or pasta with tomato sauce instead of pepperoni pizza.
  • Avoid foods that contain colour, preservative or MSG.
  • Avoid packed potatoes chips, crisps ready to eat noodles. Attractive advertisements charm the child and sway the parents to give in to their demands

Being overweight during childhood increases the risk of health problems later in life. That being said, however, you should never severely cut back your child’s calories. Even children who are overweight need three well-balanced meals and one or two nutritious snacks each day. They need to have enough energy to learn, play and grow to their full potential.

Parents are an ideal example for the child. If you follow healthy food habits your child will adapt the same. For e.g. Sit along with your child and eat the same healthy food.

Never put your children on a fad diet. These diets may not have the important nutrients children need to develop.

If you don’t eat healthy, the chances that your kids will eat healthy are small — no matter what advice you give them. So practice what you preach to your children.

Lastly as parents please remember: “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.” The best thing that you give to your child is time.