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6 Healthy Reasons to Eat Like a Kid

You pester your kids about finishing their milk, eating their veggies, and laying off junk food. You know that good nutrition can mean better health for them now and even into adulthood. Sure, they don't always polish off their asparagus or eat the pear you packed in their lunch. But are you blowing off your own good advice too? The real truth: Many moms fret over their children's eating habits while letting their own slide. Instead, follow your own nutrition wisdom and eat like your kids do (or in some cases, how they should). You'll get healthier, feel better, and probably even lose weight!

By Sally Kuzemchak, RD

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Healthy Kid Habit: A Limit on Sweet Treats (Hard to Enforce, Yes)

This is where everyone could use some work. No matter how hard you try to keep a cap on sugar, you and your children probably still get too much. Thanks mostly to soda, fruit drinks, and desserts, the average tween takes in about 24 teaspoons of added sugar a day (the kind added to foods by manufacturers, not the natural kind found in fruit or milk). Teens get nearly 28. Even adults gobble up 22 teaspoons of it. That's 335 calories' worth of sugar every day!

Trouble is, a high-sugar diet can mean much more than obesity. According to a recent scientific statement by the American Heart Association, it may also be linked to high blood pressure, elevated triglyceride levels, and inflammation—all of which raise your risk for heart disease. The expert prescription: no more than 6 teaspoons a day of added sugar (that's about 100 calories' worth) for women. But don't waste those precious sugar calories on frozen mochas or mediocre office birthday cake. Instead, save them for something you love, and time your sweet treat (like a low-cal ice cream sandwich) for after a meal, not when you're famished. "Sweets eaten when your stomach is full are absorbed at a slower rate," explains McIndoo. "So you won't get that rapid rise and big drop in blood sugar that can make you crave even more sugar."

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