MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A winning combination most parents want for their children is a healthy mind and a healthy body. But how is it possible to get kids to buy into the idea of eating healthy lunches and snacks?
The Luis family has a system in place to help them stay focused. In fact, Adrian and Erin Luis love packing their own healthy lunches for school.
Their mother, Melinda Luis, a registered Dietitian says planning is key in keeping her children on track.
According to the center for disease control approximately 17 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are obese.
Luis believes it is extremely important to follow some simple rules to make sure children are getting the right foods with the right nutrition.
“I read labels. I look at fat content. I look to see if it’s high in sodium, high in fat? Is it in fact providing something from one of these food groups,” Luis said,
Using those tools and guidelines, according to Luis, will help you determine how much of each food group your child needs.
Below is a simple guideline on what kids should be eating:
- 2 cups fruits/ 8 ounces of real fruit juice
- 2 cups of vegetables
- 4-6 ounces of protein
- 6 ounces of whole grains
“One of the biggest problems parents may do is serve portions that are very large not only do they do that, they also tell their children you have to eat everything on the plate before you leave the table which then of course makes them eat larger portions than what’s really appropriate,” said Luis.
So what’s the trick in getting children to not only eat, but pack healthy lunches, too? Get them involved in the food preparation is one way. Luis said, “It gives them a sense of ownership in terms of what they are consuming.”
Luis recommends, in addition to getting your children involved, to keep it simple, always buy fresh food, and to keep an eye on the portions.
Another great tip is to not keep unhealthy snacks at home. Allow your children to have unhealthy snacks—like chips and candy—in small portions and less frequently.