I grew up at time when people didn't give much thought to what kind of foods they ate and fed to their children. Consequently, family diets consisted of processed foods manufactured with artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. "Fair trade" and "Organic" were not common terms.

A Change for the Better

Today, there is a greater awareness about food and many people are making a bigger effort to eat a more natural and wholesome diet. This awareness has led to the availability of countless natural and organic food products that are the result of food manufacturers scrambling to meet the public's demand.

The government has stepped up its efforts to oversee this shift in consumer diet preferences, and has gone to great lengths to keep the public informed. There are a wealth of resources to learn more about virtually every ingredient that is used in the making of food. With a minimal amount of time and effort, parents can be well educated about what they are feeding their families.

Importance of Awareness

Such education allows parents to make informed decisions, but the facts can be confusing and, at times, misinterpreted — especially when it comes to the health benefits of these products.

In a recent study, researchers found that when labels indicate that foods are listed as "fair trade" or "local," people think these foods are also low-fat. Such terms have little to do with the nutritional makeup of a product.

8 Things to Keep in Mind

1. Organic Does Not Mean Healthy

The biggest culprits in the current childhood obesity crisis are fat, salt, and sugar — all of which can be considered organic, and all of which can lead to unwanted weight gain.

2. Be Wary of Low-Fat Foods

It's good to moderate the amount of fat we eat, but these foods often contain higher levels of sugar and salt in order to make them taste better.

3. Everything in Moderation

Perhaps with the exception of fresh fruits and vegetables, eat all foods in moderation and try to eat a variety of them. Minimize processed and junk foods as much as possible.

4. Start Them Early

When you feed your kids healthy foods at an early age, they grow up used to them and don't complain about eating them as much. They may even grow to like them.

5. Be Informed

There is an enormous amount of information out there regarding the foods we eat; parents can, at the very least, be minimally informed. If there are any doubts or questions, talk to your doctor or a nutritional expert.

6. Stand Your Ground

As a parent, you have the final word in what foods are being eaten in your home. Children will always prefer junk food if you give it to them, so take control and make the final decision.

7. Set a Good Example

Children will be less inclined to eat a healthy diet if mom and dad are gorging themselves on junk food. Parents should also keep in mind that healthy eating is good for them, as well.

8. Less Screen Time

In addition making kids sedentary, TV is filled with food ads that promote fast food and processed foods. Kids then relentlessly bombard parents with requests for these foods, which makes saying, "no" difficult.

The organic food and fair trade movements are making positive changes in our food supply, but don't be confused by labels. Make sure you are giving your children the healthiest food options.

If you have questions for concerns, speak with your doctor or visit the website for WebMD.