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      Healthier food alternatives can prevent childhood obesity

      Ditch the junk food for some healthier alternatives

      If your kids don't have a balanced diet of proteins, fruits and vegetables then they might be on a path to lifelong obesity.

      If you don't get your kids to eat healthier foods at a young age, they're more likely to develop health issue when they grow up.

      It's a challenge some parents know all too well.

      "I've got a couple of boys who really love chicken nuggets," Ginos said. "It's always a struggle to get them to eat something else."

      Julie Ginos has three kids, all of them under the age of ten.

      When she goes to the store, it's a constant battle to find healthier snacks her kids want to eat.

      "Sometimes, it's just a matter of telling them they have to eat something good before they get what they really want," Ginos said.

      Like Ginos' children, many kids would rather eat foods that contain more salt and sugar, instead of vitamins and minerals. But there are ways to get kids to eat healthier foods.

      "Let the child go through produce, maybe, and pick out a new fruit or new vegetable to try, you know, and that can be their item," Brittany Donlon said.

      Brittany Donlon is a registered dietitian with Hy-Vee on Broadway.

      Donlon said when you select an item off the shelf, you need to look at its list of ingredients before you put it in your cart.

      "Just see how many of the things, you know, are on it. If you can't pronounce all of the ingredients, how many are there, chances are if you don't know what the ingredient is, maybe, you should look it up and see," Donlon said.

      In order to transition your kids off an unhealthy diet of junk food, you need to buy items that contain more natural ingredients, but are still tasty.

      Donlon said kids often mimic their parents. If they see mom or dad eat an apple, then they're more inclined to want to eat one too.

      "If our parents say, you know, we need to drink milk, but they don't, the child's not going to believe they're going to have to drink it," Donlon said. "So it needs to be a whole family change."

      Donlon said if your kids eat healthy food for most of their meals, it's okay for them to fast food or junk food every once in a while.

      "Everything is okay in moderation, but it's just kind of comparing what are everyday foods versus what are treats," Donlon said.

      "Start good at the beginning of the day, hopefully it will set the tone for the rest of the day," Ginos added.

      Donlon noted it can take kids five to ten times before they might like the taste of a particular fruit or vegetable.

      She suggest that you let your kids dip any new veggies or fruit they try in ranch to get them to like the flavor and texture of the produce.