Sharing meals is an ideal way for the family to spend time together. Whether you're eating at home or eating out on the go, it's important to eat smart.
* Be consistent. Establish a family meal routine, and set times for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Eat together whenever possible.
* Take charge of the foods your children eat. When you serve a meal, your child can choose to eat it or not; but don't offer to substitute an unhealthy alternative when your child refuses to eat what you've served.
* Restrict children's access to the refrigerator and snack cupboards.
* Turn off the tv during meals, and limit kids' snacking when watching TV.
* Serve a vegetable or fruit with every meal and at snack time.
* Reward your kids with praise and fun activities rather than with food.
* Involve your children in meal planning and food preparation. They are more likely to eat what they help to make.
* While shopping and cooking, teach your children about the food groups and the importance of a balanced diet. Throughout the day, choose the types and amounts of foods you need from the five food groups.
* Teach your children how to read food labels and use the 5%-20% guide to Daily Values to make better food choices.
* Limit foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars, and make sure to get enough fiber and calcium.
* Use low-fat cooking methods such as baking, roasting and grilling, and choose healthy fats when you use them, such as olive or canola oils.
* Serve water, low-fat or nonfat milk with and between meals. Only children under two years always need to drink whole milk.
* Teach your children how to make wise food choices away from home-at school cafeterias, restaurants, and vending machines. Teach them to pay attention to both the quality and quantity of their food choices. More food is not always better for them; appropriate portion sizes need to be understood. By: U.S. Department of Education - Education.com