What If School Foods Improve and Kids Are Still Fat?

All parents want the very best for their kids in every way. They move to a neighborhood with the best school district. They want the best teachers. They drive across town to the best music or karate lessons.

And of course they want their kids to have the best food a school can offer.

Perhaps now it's time to take a look in the mirror and assess what can be done on the home front to give our kids the best.

Tips for a Trimmer Kid

The good news is that things don't need to change radically all at once. Just a little at a time, but the time to start is now.

Here are just a few tips to create an eating environment at home that has many of the same positive characteristics as the schools may soon have:

Push the positives: Have kids' favorite fruits and veggies around as anytime snacks. It's a win-win. All kids have a few favorites. Start with those.

Juice is OK, but keep portions small. Dilute 4 oz. with an equal amount of cold water so you have 8 oz. of a lighter beverage.

Got cookies and sweets around? Keep 'em to a minimum. Just one type, no smorgasbord here. Try having just oatmeal cookies or just graham crackers. That way kids will be more interested in the huge bowl of summer fruits instead.

Keep dairy foods to low-fat and fat-free milk and yogurt, but lighten up about chocolate milk. If it's low-fat or fat-free, it's OK. No need to be overly vigilant here -- and besides, it's still a nutrient-rich drink.

Be a good role model. Kids watch what you do, so do the right thing, especially in front of them.

Keith-Thomas Ayoob is an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

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