Nutritionist offers ways for parents to help kids make healthier food choices

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the CDC estimates nearly 14 and a half million children were affected by obesity between 2017 and 2018.

Judy Seybold is a chief nutritionist with Sifter and offers some ways to help parents get their kids to make healthier food choices.

Seybold says "give children choices, get them involved in the selection and grocery shopping for healthy foods and make this a family way of healthy living - not about dieting."

Other tips include:

1. Pantry - Reduce the availability of high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks so your child can develop healthy eating habits. Clean out that pantry and replace it with wholegrain, healthy choices you feel good about serving. Or what about mixing up 1 small bag of skinny popcorn, 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips in a baggie. Shake it up and store it for easy access when friends come over.

2. Refrigerator: Here are examples of easy-to-prepare, low-fat, and low-sugar snacks that are 100 calories or less that can be ready to go in the frig for after school snacks:

  • 1 cup carrots, broccoli, or bell peppers with 2 tablespoons hummus.
  • A medium apple or banana.
  • 1 cup blueberries or grapes.
  • One-fourth cup of tuna wrapped in a lettuce leaf.
  • A few homemade oven-baked kale chips.


3. Simple Swaps - limit the negatives

  • Yogurt assortment - yogurt for kids is a rich protein, calcium, and vitamin D source important for those growing bones and bodies. Options are Chobani low sugar, Siggi's, or Fage plain yogurts mixed with berries. Top with granola
  • Peanut butter - A staple in many households. Look for items with all nuts and no hydrogenated oils and added sugars. Options are Nutso or Jif no sugar added peanut butter. There are so many more nut-type options available.

4. Simple Swaps - add in the positives

  • Fiber and Whole grains - so many grain alternatives in the market today high in both. Options include Banza Chickpea, Lentil, and of course Whole Grain pastas. Fiber and whole grain keep kids full and satisfied longer.
  • Make it a wrap - La Tortilla Factory offers several made with seeds and whole grain. One with 13g of fiber! Add some lean turkey, lettuce. Roll it up and slice it like pinwheels.
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