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Parental Guidance

Healthier Eating Is a Family Affair

April 19, 1999

We recently asked how you encourage healthy eating habits with your kids. Keeping in mind that some kids cannot tolerate certain foods, here are some approaches that have worked in these families:

It finally dawned on me that if I wanted my kids to eat healthier, we all had to eat healthier. So out went all the junk foods and in came the nutritious ones.

I keep plenty of fruits, carrots and yogurt around for snacks, and prepare healthy balanced meals.

I also found that hungry kids are more open-minded about new foods, so limit snacks and present meals in a colorful and fun way whenever possible.

--LISA DAVIS, San Juan Capistrano

I encourage healthy eating habits by teaching moderation. It's an old-fashioned but much needed philosophy these days to avoid the more prevalent extremes--overeating junk foods every day versus overly restrictive diets and parents.

I provide healthy foods at home in a relaxed atmosphere. My kids eat until they (not me) decide they are full. I set reasonable limits for junk foods.

My goal is that they will enjoy eating all foods. And like themselves. Period.

--NANCY NOJIMA, Westchester

My husband, mother and I have tried many strategies to encourage our toddler to eat a variety of healthy foods. The most successful for us includes topping toasted wheat bread with spreads, and baking combinations of diced vegetables, cheese and meat in corn muffins.

Fruit, milk and yogurt smoothies also go over well for us.

--SUSANNE DIGGS-WILBORN, Culver City

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The next question: What's the most difficult hour of the day in your household? Before dinner, getting everyone up in the morning, right after work? Tell us how you deal with that tough time.

Coming up: A recent study by a federal consumer safety agency found that many child-care facilities had hazards that put children at risk. What do you look for in your child-care arrangements? How do you assure yourself that your day care, family care or child care center is safe?

Please share your strategies with us in 75 words. Send this week to Parental Guidance, Southern California Living, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053; e-mail socalliving@latimes.com; or fax (213) 237-4888. Please include your name, hometown and phone number. Submissions cannot be returned. No telephone calls, please.

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