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The Perfect Diet for Kids Is No Diet at All (page 2)

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Updated on May 15, 2013

Spend less time and money. Diets often fall by the wayside for the sake of convenience and money. A frozen pizza or a trip to the fast food drive-thru is easier and cheaper than nutrient-rich dinner, right? Wrong! Try buying in bulk and cooking large quantities for later use. “I love the idea of cooking up a large amount of a lean protein, like chicken, at the beginning of the week and incorporating that chicken into different meals throughout the week,” says Smith.

Start moving. One problem with diets is that they place all the emphasis on food. But eating right is just one part of the health puzzle; being active is the other. Fit families take time out from technology and bond over physical activities. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests children should be limited to two hours of screen time each day. Riding bikes and walking the family pet are healthy ways to fill in leisure hours.

Rethink rewards. It’s intuitive to reward your kid for good behavior, but Smith cautions against offering incentives when children eat well. Chowing down on nutritious food is simply part of living a healthy life, and feeling good should be reward enough. “Food should never be offered as an award,” Smith says. Instead consider planning an active family day hiking the trails near your home or swimming at a local pool.

All parents want to raise healthy children, but getting it done can seem no easy task. The key is to incorporate health into your whole family’s lifestyle. “Family support is crucial to maintain healthy eating habits,” Smith says. “Every family member needs to be involved.” Use these tips not as isolated projects, but as the building blocks to steady habits, and you’ll go a long way to ensuring physical and mental well-being for all members of your family.

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