Meals should include protein, starches and non-starches, said Allen Knehans, a nutrition professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Knehans encourages eating vegetables and fruits, which he said should be “at least three-fourths of your intake.”
Children can pick up bad eating habits from people around them. Parents do not always send the right message to their kids, Knehans said.
“We send very poor health messages to our children now,” he said. “Parents need to be better informed regarding modeling healthy eating habits to kids.”
There are times when parents do not know how to cook and kids end up eating fast food. Research shows people become addicted to the fat and salt of fast foods and as a result crave it.
Schools can play a key role in reducing child obesity, Knehans said. How? “Eliminating all food vending machines,” he said, “so that marketing of food and drink is not allowed in schools, and prohibiting teachers from using candy as a reward for good behavior.”