Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Are You Raising Snackers?

"Parents are raising a generation of snackers — kids who eat almost constantly throughout the day as they graze on cookies, salty snacks and fruit drinks.
A sweeping study of 31,337 children and adolescents released on Tuesday tracked snacking and meal trends from 1977 through 2006 using data from four national surveys. On average, children reach for cookies, chips and other treats about three times a day, consuming nearly 600 daily calories from snacks. That’s an increase of 168 snack calories compared with what children ate in the late 1970s.
While these are averages, the findings showed that half of American children snack about four times a day. And some children appear to be eating almost constantly, consuming either snacks or meals as often as 10 times a day..."

The above is taken from this article by Tara Parker-Pope published in the New York Times on Tuesday, March 9, 2010.

This is bad news, folks.

If this sounds like your family, it's time to take control of the situation NOW.

Moms, you have the ability, the responsibility to shape your children's eating habits. I have children who love fruit, enjoy salads, and happily eat most vegetables. They are perfectly happy drinking water and do not expect dessert every night.

You can do it too.

The younger your children, of course the more difficult it will be, but you just start with babysteps. Meaning, just make one change at a time, little by little.

Example: Your children habitually drink juice, soda, or any other drink besides water daily. So, just increase the amount of water they need to drink before they get the other drink. And limit the number of those per day. If you drink soda, limit the number per day or days per week, whatever would be a decrease for you. Then keep the habit up.

When you are drinking the proper amount of water (1/2 your body weight in ounces), a few things will happen. Besides finally being hydrated which helps relieve many symptoms-including things like headaches, asthma, skin problems----you name it, YOUR APPETITE WILL DECREASE.

This is key. Many of us are mistaking thirst for hunger and eat when we are actually thirsty. Drink enough water, and you will not have as much desire for snacking.

Besides drinking enough water, there are 2 main changes to make:
  1. Switch from unhealthy (chips, cookies) snacks to healthy (fruit, veggie sticks) ones
  2. Break the habit of eating when you don't need to. If you eat a nutritious meal, you will not be genuinely hungry an hour later.

You can do this. You can change your (and your children's) snack habits. Take back the control of the health of your family!

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