Diet Mistakes: What parents do wrong

August 22, 2011

Almost one in five kids between 6 and 19 are overweight! Choosing the right foods for your kids is key to making sure they don't become a part of that statistic. We'll show you the top six mealtime mistakes all you parents might be making.

With four kids and a fulltime job, mealtime at Lori Schroll's house is kind of crazy. Keeping her picky kids healthy and happy is her mission.

"We don't do any white bread any more; we don't do any white pasta. You won't find any pop in the house," Lori Schroll told Ivanhoe.

But no matter how hard she tries, mistakes happen here and at dinner tables everywhere!

"Just looking at the label, you may be thinking you're eating a healthy food, but you're eating 2 or 3 servings, and the calories really add up," Amy Lockwood, RD, a registered dietician at the University of Michigan, said.

When choosing bread, Lockwood says picking whole wheat isn't enough.

"When you're reading the label, you want to look at the fiber. You want it to have 3 grams of fiber, and you want to have whole wheat as your first ingredient," Lockwood said.

Kids need two servings of fruit a day.

"You want to look for fruits canned in natural juice or water," Lockwood said.

Do the math: heavy syrup has 20 to 25 grams of sugar compared to 10 in fruits canned in their natural juice.

What about Fruit Loops versus Special K cereals. Which do you think is better? Fruit Loops has less calories and less sugar and the same amount of fiber. A better breakfast choice is Cheerios. It has fewer calories, less sugar and more fiber. Another health food mistake is the yogurt you choose for your family.

"If we're comparing two vanilla yogurts, even though they're both low fat, one of them has 220 calories, and 35 grams of sugar, where the other one has 110 calories and 15 grams of sugar," Lockwood said.

If your family likes to snack before dinner, try veggies.

"One trick you can do is put out cut up veggies on the table for the kids to snack on. If they overeat on vegetables, who really cares," Bethany Thayer, registered dietician at Henry Ford Health System, said.

And soon your family will be ignoring the bad foods and fighting over the healthy ones.

Portion size is important. Think about this…the typical burger, fries and soda that was served in the '70's, now has 214 more calories. That's enough to add at least three pounds of weight a year to your child's body, even if they eat fast-food just once a week.

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