1) Change to Whole Grain FoodsPart of the problem with the food pyramid is that it likely encouraged more people to eat foods made with processed and refined grains, such as white bread, white rice, cereal, pasta, and other foods made with white flour. These foods have a high glycemic index, low amounts of fiber, and are not as healthy as foods made with whole grains. Making the switch to whole grain foods, including whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice, and cereals made with whole grains, are an easy and healthy way to make your family's diet healthier.
2) Limit Soda and Fruit DrinksAlthough it is considered okay for younger children (1 to 6 years old) to drink 4-6 ounces of 100% fruit juice each day and for older children (over age 7 years) to drink 8-12 ounces, all children should avoid fruit drinks and soda. In addition to not having any real nutritional value, they have a lot of calories. At about 150 calories per 12 ounce serving, your kids will gain an extra pound about every 3 weeks if they drink just one can of soda each day.
Cutting back or eliminating soda, fruit drinks, and even fruit juice, can be a good way to get rid of a lot of extra calories and leave room for your kids to eat more nutritious foods.
3) Increase the Number of Fruits and Vegetables You EatMost people, especially children, don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. And that usually means that they are eating other less nutritious foods. With a high fiber content, low glycemic load, and lots of vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. And because they have lots of water in them, eating fruits and vegetables can help you to feel full and satisfied so that you don't overeat.
4) Eat More Foods With CalciumA common mistake people make when trying to lose weight is that they stop drinking milk. Calcium is important though, both to build healthy bones and surprisingly, to help you lose weight. So continue to encourage your kids to drink milk, but just make the change to low fat milk once they are at least two years old.
5) Be More ActiveEveryone knows that part of the cause of the current obesity epidemic is that people are much less active then they used to be. Getting kids involved in organized activities, which can be either team or individual sports, and cutting back on the amount of time in front of the TV and playing video games, can help your kids to get more active.
Family activities are also a good way to be more physically active. Even simple things, like walking across a parking lot, using stairs, and going for short family walks or bike rides, can make a big difference.