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Breaking Bad Habits

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-Welcome to Parents TV On Demand, a place for parents to learn, share, and develop a healthy family together. Parents TV, our families, our lives. -Hi, I'm Juli Auclair. You're watching Parents TV. What parent doesn't try to make choices that will help their children live a long, healthy life? With the help of this book, Good Kids, Bad Habits, parents can learn about the little changes that make a big difference, and joining us today is the author, Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg. Thanks so much for coming in. -Well, thanks for having me. -Now, your book is based on the RealAge Healthy Kids Test. Tell us how it works and why it's important. -Right. Well, your real age is that your biological age, the age that your body thinks it is based on how well you take care of it, and the Healthy Kids Test is really an assessment of your child's health habits now, all their health habits, and from there, we can actually predict what your child's real age will be as an adult if they continue with those same habits. So it's a real like comprehensive way of seeing what your child is doing now and how we can improve their health by changing their habits. -So, if you take this test for your child and you discover they do have unhealthy habits, how do you start to break those habits now before it becomes sort of a bad thing, because I know it can be overwhelming for parents? -It can. I always tell my patients, "Start with small gradual changes." And I've developed a framework that can really help parents make these changes small steps at a time, and it's called the Four Is. -So tell us about the Four Is. -Well, the first I is to identify. You need to find out what the problem is, and again, you can do it with the RealAge Healthy Kids Test. Next is to inform. Inform your children, speak with them together, and find out and tell them why you need to motivate them to make these changes, why it's so important. The third I is to instruct. You can give a specific instruction on what you're gonna do as a family to make the changes. And the last I so important, instill. You really want to remind and reinforce the positive reinforcers and praise so the behavior then becomes a habit that continues on. -Speaking of habits, let's talk about some nutrition habits that are good. Breakfast, most important meal of the day, right? Why? -Yes. So important. We know from the studies that children who eat breakfast, they have better attention and concentration in school. They have better behavior. They are more likely to meet their nutritional needs, which is so important, and also, they're more likely to maintain their ideal body weight which, again, helps ward off disease as your child grows. -And there are certain things your children should have a breakfast, and you talk about cereal as being very important. And you have a rule of 3 for cereals. -Yes. There's a rule of 3 for cereals that I have, and basically, you wanna have at least 3 grams of fiber in your cereal, 3 grams of protein, and try to look for its sugar not to be one of the first 3 ingredients. So you wanna keep the sugar level low as possible and high fiber and high protein. -As far down on the list is possible for the sugar. -Exactly. -Okay. Now, you say that children should obviously not snack all day. What do you do when you have a child that wants to snack all day? They finish a meal, like my daughter, and she's ready to start snacking. What do you do? -Right. Well, children do have smaller stomach so they do need 3 meals a day plus snacks, so usually 2 snacks; the mid morning and an afternoon snack is well, but you don't want them to be grazing all day long 'cause then they won't have the internal cues to know that they are hungry. So again, a lot of time kids say they're hungry 'cause they don't know what else to do. So try to engage in another activity and hold to it for a few hours. In this way, they'll be more likely to eat their meals and get the nutrition that they need. -Okay. And you've brought some snacks with you today that are great alternatives to some of the sort of unhealthy snacks that are out there that kids crave, but these are great because they taste just as good. -They taste just as good and they are definitely healthier for you. -Uh-huh. -So again, when your kids are craving potato chips-- -Yes. -and those high-fat chips, you can now have whole grain products that are baked; again, much healthier for them. And again, they're always wanting those fast-food, French fries and chicken nuggets. Here's another alternative, that is-- it's a soy, made from soy, less trans fat. It's baked and also very high in protein. So it's another alternative. Again, also for children who have allergies 343 -Sure. -product as well. And this is a great-- this is a great thing too. Children like to be involved. They have lunchables that they have that can be very high in fat. You can make your own, whole grain here, crackers, is much better alternative for children, and oven roasted turkey also has very high protein. And again, cheese is a great way for children to get calcium, but look for the low-fat variety. You get just as much calcium from the low-fat variety. -And still tastes pretty good as well. -Tastes just as good, yes. -Okay. -For kids who like the morning breakfast pastries, they can be kind of unhealthy. Again, high in sugars and trans fats. So there are other versions and other brands out there. These are organic and also have no trans fats and in a little bit whole grains and lower in sugar as well. And again, children sometimes crave those fast foods and hotdogs. There are other alternatives to pork and beef ones. This is the veggie one that's right here, and this is also soy as well. -And kids are never really gonna ask for candy. Everything in moderation- -Everything in moderation. Again, you know, you try not to wanna reward your children with food. Snacks don't need to be junk. They could be healthy, but again, every once in a while, yes, your child is gonna want a cookie, and it's okay to do that. -Soda. -Soda. -Should you take your kids away from soda pops? -Soda is a big no, no. We know from the research that soda, actually a can a day, increases your child's risk of obesity by 60%. -Like it is. -So nobody needs that at all. So when we're talking about drinks and healthy beverages for children, what children should really have is 2 to 3 glasses of low-fat milk a day and a maximum of 6 to 8 ounces, or a cup or so, of 100% fruit juice. And again, just once a day, that can help to fill in their requirements for their fruits and vegetables, which is 1 cup a day. And the rest should really be water, and that's the habit we really need to teach our children, to start drinking water at an early age. -All right. The book is Good Kids, Bad Habits. Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, thank you so much for coming in and told us what we should stay away from and the healthy things we should be feeding our kids. -Thank you. -All right. And if you want to take the Healthy Kids Test online, just go to realage.com/parenting. Good Kids, Bad Habits is available in bookstores now. You're watching Parents TV, your source for the best information for your growing family. -Thank you for watching Parents TV, our families, our lives.