Have trouble getting your kids to eat healthy? Try these hacks


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat healthy?  Obesity continues to be a big problem in adults and kids.

The CDC reports one in five school-aged children is affected and making changes now could save them a lot of health and social problems as adults.  

10 On Your Side sat down with Bon Secours dietitian Barbara Mekkes, who regularly sees adults who’ve been obese since childhood. She is sharing lessons learned from them to help you.

“Obesity puts a lot of stress on a child, not only physically, but socially as well,” she said.

Mekkes hears the stories.

“Many, many of my clients were taught to eat their entire plate.”

She sees how people have grown along with our serving sizes “We’ve had portion distortion in this country.”

Using smaller plates and not forcing kids to finish all their food is what she recommends for kids and parents. 

“The Happy Meal used to be the adult portion size.”

Fast food is where Mekkes says we should all slow down.  “Look at that as a special treat and maybe even use their own hard earned money for that food that can help curtail those habits.”

At home, try these hacks for healthier eating: 

  • Mix your white pasta with whole wheat to gradually make the switch to the healthier one.
  • If veggies go untouched, put out some hummus for dipping.
  • Using processed pancake syrup? Buy the real deal.  Pure Maple has health benefits. Then, put them both on the table and let your kids choose. 

“Most children want to be healthy, they connect healthy eating with being beautiful and feeling good.”

When picking packaged foods Mekkes says, “I wouldn’t often believe what’s here (on the front of the package) but I would flip it around and I would read the ingredients.”

The fewer ingredients the better she says, and if you can’t pronounce it you probably don’t want to eat it.

One more piece of advice, turn off the screens when eating meals and snacks.  It tends to lead to mindless eating, which leads to overeating.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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