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Kids and Maintaining Healthy Eating During a Pandemic

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BERLIN, GERMANY – JANUARY 19: Different kinds of green, red and yellow peppers lie on display at the 2018 International Green Week (Internationale Gruene Woche) agricultural trade fair on January 19, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Food for humans made from insects and worms is a growing trend. The International Green Week is among the world’s biggest agricultural trade fairs and brings together agriculture, food, nutrition and horticulture. It is open to the public from Janaury 19-28. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A new study finds one-third of kids and teens eat fast food on any given day. In fact, the study says that 14% of their daily calories come from fast food.

If you tack on the pandemic, we could be seeing a bigger problem. Right now, it’s hard for a lot of people to keep up with healthy eating and exercise, let alone encouraging these behaviors in their children. 

We talked to Michaelann Rangel, a clinical dietician at Children’s Health for advice on how parents can balance it all. She says making just a few changes to your children’s eating and exercise routines can lead to positive changes for your children, and really for the whole family.

Rangel, also a parent admits, it is a challenge to make sure your kids are eating nutritious meals and choosing healthy snacks throughout their day. She is starting to see families with kids who have serious issues maintaining a consistently healthy diet during the pandemic. Especially families facing what might be an indefinite amount of time learning at home.

“Not having a schedule has really been the biggest challenge. So trying as much as we can to get our kids on a schedule. Three meals, at whatever time those might be, depending on sleep schedule right now, keeping meals about four hours apart, maybe a small healthy snack at that two-hour mark in between. So they know there is food coming, they don’t have to overeat, they don’t have to sneak, because kids are stressed too,” said Rangel. “I mean, as much as they try to put on a great happy face, they hear the news, they see what we’re talking about, and so emotional eating kind of comes in.”

Rangel says, set yourself up for success. Don’t bring junk food into the house. Stock your home with healthy few ingredient foods. Click here for more on how to develop a nutrition plan that is best for you and your children.

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