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Sweets in Moderation

Teach Your Children Well

January 26, 1998

Good eating habits can last a lifetime. Children's Hospital of Orange County offers some easy tips for an uncomplicated approach for parents.

Healthy Snacks

* Offer a varied, balanced diet that includes all five food groups--but served in modest portions.

* Don't skip meals. This leads to heavy snacking.

* Keep healthy snacks--such as fruit, raw vegetables and nonfat pretzels--handy.

* Get the family together for dinner as often as possible, but keep the conversation pleasant and positive. Stress at the dinner table can cause children to overeat.

* Don't use food to reward or punish.

* Strive for moderation. Remember, there are no bad foods--only bad choices of foods that should be used on a limited basis.

* Sweets are OK in moderation. A recent study at London's Kings College found that children who were allowed to eat some sugar tend to have healthier diets and be thinner than children denied sweets.

No Force Feeding

* Don't force a child to eat everything on his or her plate. That can cause overeating or eating just to please a parent.

* Children younger than 2 should not be on a low-fat diet. They need a certain amount of fat to grow and develop.

* Don't forget the importance of exercise. Develop fun exercises and do them with your children on a regular basis. Exercise is more likely to happen if parents turn it into a family activity.

Source: Kids Health, publication of Children's Hospital of Orange County and Children's Hospital at Mission.

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