Are you using the “Clean Your Plates” attitude? According to obesity researchers, the United States obesity rate has more than doubled for preschoolers and adolescents and more than tripled for ages 6 to 11-over the past thirty years. Obese twins are at greater risk for health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, and often carry these problems into adulthood.
So, how do twins parents can help their twins, and the entire family, eat healthier, both at home and away-from-home?
“Talk to your paediatrician, family doctor or registered dietitian to determine the healthiest weight goals for the entire family,” said nutrition expert Jenifer Bland-Campbell, “then make a plan to tackle the issue.”
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Tips to help parents of twins help their families eat more healthfully:

  • Eat at least one meal together daily, at regular intervals to discourage snacking.
  • Prepare healthy dishes for the whole family, not just special foods for an overweight twin.
  • Don’t use food as a twins reward, comfort or punishment.
  • Watch portions. “Clean your plates” is not always the way to go.
  • Eat slowly. It takes about twenty min. for the brain to register that the body is full.
  • Encourage your twins to drink water or skim or 1% milk instead of high-calorie, sugary drinks.
  • Getting twins to eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits each and every day will not be something easy to do, but try to focus on the colors to make it more fun. Visit www.5aday.co.nz for more tips.
  • Use low-fat or fat-free dressings, mayonnaise and dairy items at home as if they are the full-fat versions. Twins will take your cues. At the restaurants you can ask for the same products on the side when eating outside.
  • Take the stairs. When you go with your twins shopping, when you park the car farther away from the store and walk.
  • Limit your twins television, computer time or video games.
  • Replace the twinnies mayonnaise and cheese on burgers or sandwiches with ketchup, barbecue sauce or mustard.
  • Try to stick with food that is baked, steamed, broiled or poached-not fried.
  • When you’re eating out with your twins, ask for nutritional information.
  • Look beyond the twins menu, often limited to fried, high-calorie, high-fat foods. Split one healthier adult entrée between two twins.
  • When you’re eating outside, ask for a takeout and put some of the food in even before you eat.
  • Ask for beverages, bread, and chips be served with your meal, not beforehand.
Parents to twins can help twins reach wellness goals by first making healthy changes at home, then teaching twins what to do away from home,” said Bland-Campbell. “Healthy eating does not happen overnight, but twins take cues from their twins parents and will learn behaviours over time.”

Bland-Campbell is a registered dietitian

With ARAMARK, a company that manages food service programs at businesses, colleges, hospitals, and approximately 4,000 schools across the country.
You can find research on the away-from-home nutritional preferences of Americans at ARAMARK’S Web site (dining style). There, parents of twins can find their own dining style and receive tips from dieticians on more ways to eat better.
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