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Best ways to help your kids eat healthy in 2015

A lot of parents this month will be making New Year’s resolutions for themselves, hoping to turn 2015 into the year they start eating healthier, getting in shape and basically doing all those things they always said they wanted to do. Well, there’s no reason kids can’t get in on the action, too.

Even if you can’t always bring your kids with you as you enjoy your new gym membership, there are plenty of ways you can help them start 2015 off right. If you have concerns about your child’s weight, one of the best ways to address those is staying resolute about nutrition.

Healthy eating tips for kids

Before we get into what to eat, here are some tips on how to eat that can help ensure that a healthy lifestyle takes hold:

  • It sounds simple, but only have your kids eat when they are hungry. Knowing the difference between hunger and boredom can play a big role. This also goes for eating to deal with stress, or giving out food as a reward.
  • Have your child put his utensils down after each bite. Eating fast often leads to eating too much.
  • Plan meals ahead of time so that you’re not scrambling or in a time crunch. That often leads to impromptu trips to the drive-thru.
  • Eat at the kitchen table, and keep the television turned off. Distracted eating can keep your child from realizing she is full.
  • If possible, do not eat after 7 p.m.

When it comes to mealtime, remember these tips:

  • Drink a glass of water 15 minutes before each meal. This will help your child feel more full and guard against overeating. Throughout the day, drink eight glasses of water.
  • Serve dressings on the side. This gives kids the chance to enjoy the taste of food without those flavor enhancers that so often come with extra fat and calories.
  • Make sure you always have healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables available, and keep junk food out of reach or out of the house completely.
  • Don’t drink your calories. In other words, reserve soda and juices for special occasions, perhaps weekends. We all know that soda is packed with added sugar, but juices (and especially beverages labeled “fruit drinks”) are also guilty.

One thing to remember through all this is the rule of moderation. Putting strict restrictions on what your child is allowed can sometimes backfire and lead to frustration. So, go ahead and allow an ice cream treat and a second helping of pie now and again. Just try to have healthy choices be the normal choices, and soon you’ll see great effects.

A fringe benefit to looking out for your child’s nutrition this year will be that it most likely will help you keep up yours as well. Think of it as having a buddy to go on this journey of health with you.