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Junk Food Nation
Hopped up on the junk food? Dr. K. gives you some pointers on getting your kids on the right track to healthy.


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Do you argue because your kids are tipping the scale?


My wife and I have noticed that are kids are gaining weight because of what they eat and we wind up arguing with each other because of this. Any tips to address this issue?

As much as children bring joy to a couple, many partnerships also have quite a few disputes about their offspring. Certainly, issues around how the kids eat, as well as what they eat are typical points of contention .

So many families are "maxed out" these days—between the need for both parents to work and the schedule the kids maintain. Living on the go and with stress has become a way of life. As a result, families look for shortcuts, and utilizing fast food is certainly one of the tools. Sadly, the days of sitting down together as a family for a home cooked meal is no longer the norm.

Unfortunately, there are serious consequences with this lifestyle. One of the gravest is the rising incidence of obesity in our society and our children are very much suffering from this insult. Also, because parents are not able to offer the same type of attention to home life as in decades past, children are much more vulnerable to the outside influences of the media and conforming to whatever the group is doing—not necessarily making food choices that are in their best interest.

Where does all this lead? Sadly, many children are eating foods that are not healthy and may even be adding many more calories than is required.

I would venture to say your spouse is overwhelmed by circumstances rather than being guilty of not caring about your child’s welfare. However, your child’s well-being is important and so here are some tips to help with this dispute:
  1. Bring up this situation to your spouse with an understanding approach as to how hard it is to manage rather than an attitude that implies your partner doesn’t care.
  2. Start together to look for ways to make some small changes. If you attempt to make drastic changes all at once, it will backfire and your kids are likely to put up a fuss (e.g. substitute one of the soda drinks with a healthy beverage).
  3. Plan to have meals available that are easy to take on the run but are still healthy (e.g. a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread).
  4. Make sure there are plenty of snacks in the house that are nutritious (e.g. have cut up fruit available).
  5. Try to have at least one family meal together every week—even if you serve pizza. Make sure this is a time when you are sharing enjoyable experiences.
Remember that change takes place slowly. Also, be aware that children learn most by what they observe, so eat healthy and you will be taking care of yourself and your children.

Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is co-author of Marriage Magic! Find It! Make It Last.




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