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Help kids avoid pitfalls of sugary snacks

Published On: Feb 07 2012 10:17:24 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 04 2012 03:27:10 PM CDT
Family

(NewsUSA) - Sugar can be difficult to pass up, especially when you're a kid. Today's children are regularly subjected to sugary diets and uninformed eating habits. Although, parents may not be giving their children foods that are high in sugar intentionally, there are steps that can be taken to help kids avoid the pitfalls of sugar, such as obesity and dental disease.

* Monitor snacking choices. Ration empty-calorie foods such as sugar-packed sweets. Instead, offer healthy alternative snacks such as fresh vegetables and fruits and low-fat yogurt with no added sugars.

* Beware of the juice box. Most fruit drinks are low in vitamins and high in sugar. And many contain less than 10 percent real fruit juice. Look for low- or no-sugar substitutes or provide water when kids are thirsty.

* Use oral care probiotics. Sugars are going to find their way into young mouths eventually. In addition to regular brushing and flossing, incorporate an oral care probiotic into their oral health routine. Oral care probiotics work by flooding the mouth with beneficial bacteria, which adhere to tooth surfaces, including pits and fissures in the chewing surfaces, leaving less room for the harmful bacteria that feed on sugars to grow.

* Involve children in meal-time planning and prep. Take advantage of meal preparation to help your child understand the importance of good food choices. Including them in the preparation process can be an important step for children who take more interest in hands-on activities.

* Keep a positive attitude. When your child makes healthy food choices, recognize his accomplishment. Be consistent with verbal praise and rewards when they make good choices. As is the case with many children, behavior is often repeated when there is a positive response.

* Be a role model. Probably the most important step is to practice what you preach. Most children learn by watching their parents. When you try to teach a child good behavior, incorporate these same principals into your own everyday actions. Words that conflict with your actions can be confusing to developing minds.

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