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Avoid the nutrition rut: Tips and snacks for healthy family eating

With childhood obesity reaching new highs, it's important to remember that eating well forms the foundation for living a healthy lifestyle. The younger we share healthy eating values with our children, the better chance they will have of avoiding the health issues associated with obesity—type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and even heart problems. But as you know with today's time pressures, it's challenging to cook healthy meals every day of the week. And, it's easy to get in a food rut. In The stay-trim family diet, writer Matthew Kadey, offers tips for identifying if your family is in a food rut and suggestions for helping you set your family on an even stronger healthy eating path.

Adding to the childhood obesity issue is the habit of snacking and the increase of snack foods on the marketplace. In fact, snacking accounts for 26 percent of the total calories consumed by kids age 2 and older, according to USDA research. Of course, successfully getting kids to eat well (and snack well), starts with parents modeling healthy eating habits. These tips for smart snacks, will help keep things healthy even when you have to rely on those in-between meals to get you and your family through the day.

One of my kids' favorite healthy snacks is as follows: An apple with its core cut out (think an apple with a hole through its center), stuffed with a mixture of peanut butter, rolled oats, and a touch of honey. Slice the apple crosswise, and you get wonderful rings with peanut-butter centers.

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