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Clean Up Your Kid’s Favorite Meals!

Second Birthdayphoto © 2008 Amy Wheeler | more info (via: Wylio)Did you know that the childhood obesity rate is four times greater than it was 40 years ago? With so many convenient food options, we understand that busy parents may grab what they know their kids like and will eat. However, not all of those foods are really benefiting your children. If you start them on healthy habits now, it will only serve to benefit their longterm health and wellness. Follow these tips to clean up your kid’s eating routine:

1. Do your kids love burgers and fries? (Who doesn’t?) But with the incredible amount of options out there, consider making yours at home in lieu of running through the drive through. There are lean frozen sirloin patties, turkey patties, vegan patties and chicken patties. They take about as much time to cook in a pan or on a grill as pulling through the drive thru. The bonus is that you know what goes into making those burgers. Serve on whole wheat buns with baked sweet potato fries (which can be bought frozen) or veggies on the side.

2. No more ordering pizza! Do you know the amount of grease that comes with order-in pizza? Go for english muffin pizzas instead. Top a whole grain english muffin (or pita!) with low-sodium tomato sauce, veggies and chicken breast. Sprinkle on some low fat cheese and broil. Not only do you get the benefits of a healthier version of pizza BUT you also go a long way towards teaching your children portion control.

3. No more juices and sodas. Instead of giving your kids sugary juices and sodas, give them whole fruits to eat. For a treat, try mixing 100 percent fruit juice with low-sodium sparkling water for a treat.

4. Cookie Monster! Instead of boxed and pre-made cookies, make your own healthier versions! Use heart healthy oils and fruits in lieu of butter. You can add nutrition to any dessert by using natural sweeteners such as applesauce and agave nectar. Use whole wheat and whole grain flours instead of white flour. As a bonus, you can make it a fun activity to do with your children.

5. No more of those packaged “Fruit Snacks.” Seriously, by now we all have to know that those are essentially ALL SUGAR. Instead, buy various dried fruits and make your own mixtures. That way, your children will get natural sugar and fiber. Try dried blueberries, cherries, apples and bananas. For those of you who are more ambitious, you can purchase a food dehydrator for relatively cheap on amazon.com and make your own!

Sources: http://www.oxygenmag.com

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