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Tips on keeping your family eating healthy

January 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
If you're not paying close attention, it's easy for you and your family to consume needless calories you don't need.With four kids and a fulltime job, mealtime at Lori Schroll's house is always a challenge.She tries to keep meals as healthy as possible.

"We don't do any white bread any more. We don't do any white pasta. You won't find any pop in the house," said Schroll.

But while we all face a hectic schedule, mistakes happen.

"Just looking at the label you may be thinking you're eating a healthy food, but you're eating two or three servings and the calories really add up," said Amy Lockwood, a registered dietician,

Be careful of what you drink. Don't mistake Sunny D for orange juice. One glass of Sunny D amounts to 260 calories and 60 grams of sugar. That's the sugar equivalent of a dozen Chips Ahoy cookies. Be choosy when choosing bread. Lockwood says picking whole wheat isn't enough.

"When you're reading the label you want to look at the fiber. You want it to have three grams of fiber and you want to have whole wheat as your first ingredient," Lockwood advised.

Kids need two servings of fruit a day.

"You want to look for fruits canned in natural juice or water," said Lockwood.

Do the math. Heavy syrup has 20 to 25 grams of sugar, compared to 10 in fruits canned in their natural juice. The same goes with choosing cereal. Fruit Loops has fewer calories and sugar and the same amount of fiber as some healthier looking brands. However, a better breakfast choice is cheerios. It has less calories, less sugar and more fiber. Another health food mistake is choosing the best yogurt for your family.

"If we're comparing two vanilla yogurts, even though they are both low fat, one of them has 220 calories, and 35 grams of sugar, where the other one has 110 calories and 15 grams of sugar," explained Lockwood.

If your family likes to snack before dinner, a good idea is to put healthy snacks out on the table for snacking.

"One trick you can do is put out cut up veggies on the table for the kids to snack on. If they overeat on vegetables, who really cares?" Bethany Thayer, another registered dietician, suggested.

Who knows? Soon your family will be passing on the bad foods and fighting for the healthy ones.