We live in a time where everyone is in a hurry. Everyone’s busy, and few of us have the time anymore to constantly monitor the nutritional value of what our children eat. Potato chips, cookies, candy, they’re all there and prepackaged for our convenience, and it is much easier to hand our child a bag of chips than to prepare something at home. Unfortunately, picking up fast food is not only convenient and cheap; it’s also extremely bad for the health of our children. While we may not be able to 100% cut it out of our lifestyles, taking the steps to living healthier does not require cutting out the ease and tastiness of junk food.

A great place to start is soft drinks and caffeine. Parents are introducing these sugary drinks to their children at younger and younger ages, and health wise these are poor choices for kids. Drinking too much soda can increase a child’s risks of dental cavities, caffeine addiction, obesity, and dehydration, especially as soft drinks are where children get the majority of their caffeine intake. Milk, water, and fruit juices are tasty and a much better alternative than sodas, and slowly introduced to your child in place of them, can really help improve your child’s health for now and the future.

Children are eating more and more as time goes on, and parents giving their children portion sizes comparable to their own is a growing trend. Make sure your child always gets the kid’s portion whenever you visit a restaurant or fast food chain. Putting food on smaller plates is a good idea also, as a smaller amount of food looks larger when placed on a small plate, and you also just can’t physically fit a lot of food on a little plate. Portions have grown to be completely out of control, and teaching your child about portion control from a very young age can help instill healthy habits for when they are adults as well.

What child doesn’t try to sneak the cookies out of a cookie jar? Kids have always loved sweets, and it’s hard to resist the pleading eyes of your baby, but too many sweets can lead to obesity, diabetes, and many more health problems. Fruits are a great substitute for sweets, and slowly introducing fruits and fruit-related desserts is not only healthy, but can be very fun! Bursting with vitamins and antioxidants, fruits are not only healthy but also very colorful and pretty, and it can be a great bonding experience with your children concocting new and colorful fruity desserts.

We are so busy these days, that while nothing is better or tastier than a homemade meal, we cannot completely cut out the option of fast food for our kids. Fortunately most chains have added alternative menu items with your child’s kids meal other than french fries and cola, such as fruit slices and milk. Whenever you need to buy fast food for your children, look for these healthier choices on the menu and get your son or daughter those instead.

Remember that if your family has fallen into the pattern of a poor health-oriented lifestyle; never halt this cold turkey. Children and people in general, are always adverse to sudden change and you’ll get a lot better results slowly introducing these new choices to your family. Child obesity is a growing trend, and keeping your child from falling into it is of key importance today.

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