Food traps are situations and places that make it difficult to eat right. We all have them. The following tips may help your family avoid some of the most common traps.
FOOD TRAP #1: VACATIONS, HOLIDAYS & OTHER FAMILY GATHERINGS
Vacations: When on a trip, don’t take a vacation from healthy eating and exercise.Plan your meals. Will all your meals be from restaurants? If so, can you split entrees and desserts to keep portions from getting too large? Can you avoid fast food? Can you bring along your own healthy snacks? Stay active. Schedule time for physical activities such as taking a walk or swimming in the hotel pool.
Holidays: It’s easy to overeat during holidays. But you don’t need to fear or avoid them. Approach the holidays with extra care. Don’t lose sight of what you and your child are eating. Plan to have healthy foods and snacks on hand. Bring a fruit or veggie tray with you when you go to friends and family. Celebrate for the day, not an entire month! Be sure to return to healthy eating the next day.
Other Family Gatherings: In some cultures, when extended families get together, it can turn into a food feast, from morning to night. Eat smaller portions. Avoid overeating whenever you get together with family. Try taking small portions instead. Get family support. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles can have an enormous effect on your child’s health. Let them know that you’d like their help in keeping your child on the road to good health.
FOOD TRAP #2: SNACK TIME
The biggest time for snacking is after school. Kids come home wound up, stressed out, or simply bored, so they reach for food.
- Offer healthy snacks such as raw vegetables, fruit, light microwave popcorn, vegetable soup, sugar-free gelatin, or fruit snacks.
- You pick the snack. When children are allowed to pick their own snacks, they often make unhealthy choices. Talk to your child about why healthy snacks are important. Come up with a list of snacks that you can both agree on and have them on hand.
- Keep your child entertained. Help your child come up with other things to do instead of eating, such as playing outside, dancing, painting a picture, flying a kite, or taking a walk with you.
- Make sure your child eats 3 well-balanced meals a day. This will help cut down on the number of times he or she needs a snack.
FOOD TRAP #3: RUNNING OUT OF TIME
Finding time every day to be physically active can be very difficult. However, if you plan ahead, there are ways to fit it in.
- Make a plan. Sit down with your child and plan in advance for those days when it seems impossible to find even 15 minutes for physical activity. Have a plan B ready that your child can do after dark, such as exercising to a workout video.
- Make easy dinners. If you run out of time to make dinner, don’t run to the nearest fast-food restaurant. Remember, dinners don’t have to be elaborate. They can be as simple as a sandwich, bowl of soup, piece of fruit, and glass of milk.
Remember, your job is to provide good nutrition to your child and family and encourage regular physical activity. Stay positive and focus on how well your child is doing in all areas of life. It can help keep nutrition and activity change moving along.
Written by Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP. Source: Pediatric Obesity: Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment Strategies for Primary Care (Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.