Sometimes it seems like kids never stop eating. That impression is closer to truth than it should be. According to new research, most kids eat three meals a day, plus three snacks.

There's breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, bedtime snack. Then there are all those bonus snacks: snack after soccer practice, pizza and cake at birthday parties, snacks at playgroup and story hour and the PTO meeting.

Even families that try to eat healthy often wind up letting their kids graze. I was surprised to realize how much my kids snack. I think I feed them just two healthy snacks a day, but the reality is that there's almost always an excuse for some kind of extra treat.

Those treats add up to a lot of calories. Kids today eat an average of 113 calories a day more than we did when I was growing up. Those extra calories aren't coming from carrot sticks. Salty, processed snacks and desserts make up the bulk of the increase.

It's not just the snacks that are increasing in bulk. Our kids are getting heavier, and fast. Childhood obesity has shot up from 14.8 percent to 16.4 percent in just four years. Michelle Obama has taken on childhood obesity with her new Let's Move campaign.

Kids are going to need a lot of help from adults in reversing the trend toward overeating. My kids aren't the only ones in this house who graze constantly. I eat at my computer between meals when I'm working. I hover over snack tables at parties and functions. I even munch while I'm driving.

I can't expect my kids to learn good eating habits if I don't have them myself. Parents reportedly do a better job watching what our kids eat than we do for ourselves. That's pretty scary when we stop to consider the amount of junk our kids are eating. The snack foods industry makes billions every year off feeding our kids unhealthy junk.

Not only are all these empty calories bad for our kids, but the processing and packaging of all that food is bad news for the environment. Why do we keep eating this stuff?

It's cheap, for one. Fresh foods and healthy snack options are often unattainable in poor neighborhoods, and too expensive for families on a tight budget. For another thing, these foods can actually be addictive.

Bad food habits are hard to break. Our bodies become trained to crave sugar, salt and certain flavors. We get used to eating at certain times of day. Or all day long.

That said, my nutritionist encourages me to eat 5-6 small meals a day instead of three larger ones. I'm not sure the grazing is necessarily a problem if the foods we're eating - and feeding our kids - are healthy ones.

No one in my house is overweight. Could just be luck and genetics I have to thank for that. Or it could be that even though we snack between meals, we eat a lot of fresh fruit and homemade whole grain bread, and very little processed snack food. We also spend very little time in front of the TV, and a lot of hours playing outside.

What do you do to help your kids eat healthy? Do you watch what you eat as well as you watch your kids?