What's your biggest challenge for taking steps to be a good role model for your kids?

If you said, "Not enough time," you're not alone. With today's hectic lifestyles, many parents feel the same way. But being a good role model takes less time than you think when you plan ahead and try some time-saving tips like these:

  • Spend a little time planning to save a lot of time later. Map out a week of healthful meals and snacks so you can stock up on what you need in one trip to the store.
  • For speedy meals, use supermarket time-savers such as rotisserie chicken, quick-cooking brown rice, pre-washed salad greens and canned or frozen fruits and vegetables. Swing by the salad bar for chopped veggies to use in recipes and a quick fruit salad for dessert.
  • Ask kids to help you plan their school lunches and family dinners for the week and make the shopping list.
  • Enlist their help with meal prep. Even younger kids can do simple tasks such as tearing lettuce for a salad or spooning yogurt on top of fruit for dessert.
  • Try kitchen tricks like these to "lighten up" the foods you serve. They don't take any extra time and still taste great!
    • Make burgers, meat loaf and tacos with extra lean ground beef.
    • Bake chicken and fish instead of frying.
    • Use low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt and reduced-fat cheese.
    • Choose fruit canned in water or juice instead of syrup.
    • Serve salsa or reduced-calorie ranch dressing instead of regular dip.
    • Use reduced-calorie dressings on salads and fat-free mayo on sandwiches.
    • Scoop up light ice cream instead of super-rich premium ice cream.
    • Offer diet soft drinks or bottled water instead of regular soft drinks.


Want your kids to tune in when you talk about eating right and being active? You'll get better reception when you try these tips:

  • START WITH A SELF CHECK. First, make sure you are taking steps to eat right and be active because your kids are watching! It's a lot easier to talk with your kids and get them on board when you're "walking the talk" yourself.
  • MAKE YOUR TALK SPECIAL. Show how important the conversation is by planning time alone with them. Turn off the phone, TV and computer to avoid distractions. Better yet, talk while you take a walk together.
  • BUILD ON THE POSITIVE. Compliment good habits your kids already have instead of only mentioning negative behaviors. For example, if you say it's terrific that they often choose fruit for dessert, they'll be more receptive to your ideas for nutritious snacks.
  • FOCUS ON TODAY'S BENEFITS. Concern about their future health probably isn't on your kids' radar screen, so talk about what matters to them most—now! Mention they'll have more energy to help them do better in school, sports or whatever matters to them today.
  • DO IT TOGETHER. It works better and is more fun to form new healthy habits when the whole family is in it together. During family meals, compliment each other on positive changes and "brainstorm" ideas to help everyone stick with it.


This unique feature opens the lines of communication and even provides "conversation starters" to help you make the connection.

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