2) Another reason to limit soda and fruit drinks is they have poor nutritional value and high calorie density. With about 150 calories per 12 ounce serving, you will gain an extra pound about every 3 weeks if you drink just one can of soda each day. Reducing or eliminating soda and fruit drinks (even fruit juice should be limited) can be a good way to prevent disease from an improper pH balance (your blood becomes too acidic), lose extra pounds and save room for you to eat more nutritious organic and natural foods.

3) We’ll say it 50 more times. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables. Most children don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables and that usually means they are eating less nutritious junk foods and becoming addicted to sugars and carbohydrates. With a high fiber content and lots of vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. And because they have lots of water in them, eating fruits and vegetables can help you to feel full and satisfied so that you don’t overeat. And don’t worry about not staying full as long, because you’ll be eating more, but smaller, meals per day, remember?

4) Eat More Foods with Calcium. A common mistake people make when trying to lose weight is that they stop drinking milk, eating cheese, eggs and yogurt. Don’t listen to the “all dairy is bad” crowd. Calcium is important to build healthy bones, help you lose weight and fight disease. In fact, calcium is essential for many things and even fights cancer and osteoporosis. You should encourage your kids to drink low-fat milk, eat portioned amounts of cheese and yogurt to help lose weight and maintain a healthy diet. Supplement with calcium also: as the most abundant mineral in your body, it is that important.

5) We’ll say this 50 more times also. Exercise and be More Active. isn’t it amazing how few of us exercise even though we have the time? We know part of the cause of the current obesity epidemic is that people are much less active then they used to be. In fact, 100 years ago the average person burned about twice as many calories per day! Getting kids involved in organized sports activities, which can be either team or individual, and reducing the time stuck in front of the TV or computer while playing video games, will burn calories and improve fitness levels.

The activities don’t have to be sports. Family outings are also a good way to be more physically active and increase the emotional bonds with your loved ones. Hiking in the woods or along trails is great exercise, and teaches a love of and respect for nature. Even simple things like using stairs and going for short family walks or bike rides can make a big difference.

6) Know Where Calories Come From. While you don’t necessarily need to keep daily records of your calorie consumption, taking notes of what your family eats for a few days can help you see where extra calories originate. Are your kids overweight because of the calories they get from  bedtime cookies or cake snacks, or those two glasses of  soda? Or because meal sizes are too large?

If you know where your kids’ calories are coming from, you will know where to make adjustments to their diet and where you can cut back, especially on foods with lots of empty calories. The great part about including lots of fiber in ones diet is the way decreases hunger naturally.

7) Learn About Fats. Like carbohydrates, there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats. Instead of making the mistake of trying to rigidly adhere to a low fat diet, and substituting other foods that are often high in calories such as too many “bad” carbohydrates,  eat foods that have ‘good’ fat in them. This includes foods with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, especially olive oil. On the other hand, you should avoid saturated fats and trans fats.

Olive oil is perhaps the healthiest and one of the best tasting oils in the world.

9) Choose Healthy Meals when Eating Out. Even if your family eats healthy at home, if you eat super-sized fast food meals a few times a week, they are probably still at risk for becoming overweight. If you eat out a lot, review the nutritional facts of the restaurant’s menu and watch your portion sizes. Calories and fat quickly adds up when eating out! Most restaurants focus on making food taste good, not keeping you slender and healthy. Although this is beginning to change.