Five Simple Rules to Improve Your Family's Eating Habits

Struggling to get your children to eat well, or to eat the right kinds of foods? Most parents are.

Childhood obesity is at an all time high in this country, and advertising for unhealthy foods and beverages bombards our children constantly.

Weight Watchers is well aware of this issue for both adults and children.

Their new book, Eat! Move! Play! A Parent's Guide for Raising Healthy, Happy Kids. offers the following five simple rules to help families develop healthy eating habits.

1) Focus on wholesome, nutritious foods. Create a love of whole grains, water, low-fat milk, vegetables and fruits by making them household items. Most of these foods are high in vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients and low in calories. These foods must become the mainstay of family's diet, including meals and snacks in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

2) Keep the treats. Treats are low in nutritional value and shouldn't be used as a snack. An important part of kids' eating habits, a treat adds enjoyment, reduces feelings of deprivation, and supports a realistic, sustainable eating pattern.

3) Cut the screen time. Aside from homework parents should aim for their kids to be in front of the TV for only two hours or less per day. Numerous studies show daily number of hours in front of the television is linked to weight gain.

4) Move. Try to be active one hour or more per day. While an hour a day may sound like a lot, it helps to understand that the recommendation includes all kinds of activity, both structured and unstructured - that means everything from playing outside after school to riding a bike to the store.

5) Everyone counts. These rules apply to everyone in the home. A healthy-weight lifestyle isn't just for family members who have or had weight issues. It's important that these Five Simple Rules are followed by everyone in the family because it provides kids with consistent expectations which makes the rules stick.

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