'Healthy buck dollars' to keep your kids healthy

January 25, 2012 5:48:02 AM PST
Every parent wants to help their child succeed, to live a happy, healthy and successful life. And with today's emphasis on healthier foods for kids, parents might have to get a little creative to convince children to choose carrots over candy bars.

In a city with pizza and hamburgers on almost every corner, it isn't easy to convince kids to eat healthier foods, especially if parents don't always set the best example.

Dieticians who work with younger patients say an innovative reward system might be worth a try. Teaching kids that healthy eating pays off might be easier with "healthy buck dollars."

"Not a food reward system, but a money reward system," said Tara Harwood, a dietician with the Cleveland Clinic. "So what I am telling parents to do, and they can make this on their computer, are healthy buck dollars. And what you can do is you can establish healthy goals for your children, and if they complete the goals, they get one healthy buck dollar."

Harwood says for each weekly goal your child meets, they can trade their bucks for rewards. Parents can pick up small prizes and trade them out, or even put together a treasure chest and let the child pick. She says the repetition will help your child develop healthier habits. And healthy bucks can be used to reward exercise too.

And don't forget, parents have to set an example. If you're passing up fresh fish for fried chicken, your kids will do the same. This is a chance for adults to retrain their eating habits along with their kids.

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