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Teaching kids to avoid junk food at school

There is no doubt that childhood obesity and a related rise in the earlier onset of healthcare problems is on the rise and I can’t help but lay some of the blame on the vending machines and unhealthy cafeteria choices found in schools.

I remember my teenage days…having Pepsi and a Twix bar for breakfast, a burger and fries for lunch, more Pepsi in the afternoon, and a varied dinner.

Basically, if kids have the ability to get junk food, most are going to choose to get it.

If you’ve got French fries next to a fresh fruit cup, which one would you choose?

What I have seen as a dietitian and as a mother is that if healthy food is the only choice that’s available, kids will eat it without much complaint. If there is junk food to be had, they will want it every time.

Politics and capitalism are largely involved in the placement of vending machines in schools and the choices available in school cafeterias. Instead of waiting around for changes to come around, I recommend taking action for your own family and kids.

Send your kids to school with healthy lunch and snack items. Talk to them about healthier food choices and encourage them to choose these. Finally, at home you can always set a good example for your kids by offering only healthy foods at home.

If you teach kids healthy habits at home, chances are they likely will be more willing to choose these foods on their own, even if it’s a little later on down the road.

Who knows…maybe they’ll even become a dietitian.

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