Where, when, and what you eat may be something you do not think about much. When you are bored, reading a book, watching TV or are frustrated or anxious, you may subconsciously start eating. This occurs because you have cultivated the habit of eating when you carry out these activities.
You need to do what you can to encourage good habits and discourage bad ones in you family. Habits are difficult to change. Good habits need to be formed at a young age. Poor eating habits may result in impaired health or lead to obesity in later life.
There is a smart reason to develop good eating habits early. The following are some suggestions to help your family establish good life-long eating habits to prevent weight problems:
- Establish a meal pattern that is suitable for the entire family. The pattern may not include three meals a day, but it should have some regularity to it. It’s better to avoid eating a large amount at any one time, and keep to a minimum food eaten after the evening meal.
- Establish one eating place in the home and eat there only. This helps to cut out snacking in front of the TV, in the bedroom and on the couch.
- Because these foods are so readily accessible, it is difficult to avoid forming the habit of eating whenever you desire. Treats such as potato chips, sweet desserts, and soft drinks should be just that treats; don t let them become daily habits.
- Don t allow eating to become a form of recreation. If you find that you or other family members eat for recreation, you should find a hobby in which you or the entire family is interested.
- High-calorie snacks should be avoided and low calorie nutritious snack foods made available. Snacks should be a part of the regular dietary pattern of your family and provide nutrients that the family needs. Snacks may be sandwiches, milk, fruit, or vegetables. They should be readily available to family members.
- Avoid buying foods in which your family tends to overindulge. Although the types of foods vary with families and family members, problem foods could be pies, cakes, and sweet rolls. Again, buy limited quantities of these foods and use them infrequently as treats.
- Learn serving sizes for each family member and serve just enough food to take care of their needs. This suggestion is true especially if a family member is having difficulty controlling his/her weight.
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